Construction skills for jobs in South Africa – No 1 approved

Construction skills for jobs in South Africa guide

The construction industry is a brilliant job creator as its employees can be entry-level, with no experience and with or without a degree. However, construction skills shortages in this sector opens up job opportunities. Gaining required construction skills might be easier than one thinks, and upskilling could be an income game changer. Consider volunteering, or doing a free course that offers certification. 

Finding and applying for construction jobs are obviously vital steps, but equally so, is understanding the importance of construction skills to the hiring manager as s/he reads your resume. 

Adapt your CV to focus on the construction skills that are relative to the job ad. Read the job ad carefully and list the construction skills that you also happen to have. Add other skills to this list that may be helpful, such as accounting experience when you apply for a Project Management position. Make use of our free resume service so that you can edit and highlight the right construction skills on your CV with every new application. 

Below, we cover the typical job skills which are most looked for on construction resumes. Hard skills refer to knowledge or ability such as cost management that can be measured and taught, or a skill level that is graded by CIDB for example. 

Soft skills describe personal traits and they sketch a picture of how the candidate will perform duties. For example, a soft skill for a management vacancy might be decisiveness. 

Find hard- and soft construction skills for the following construction jobs further down: 

  • Construction management
  • Construction project manager
  • Carpenter
  • Electrician
  • Warehouse associate
  • Material handler

Construction management 

The entire process of construction, from beginning to end, including planning, design and building, is supervised by a construction manager. 

To skill up with specialized, project management techniques, consider signing up for an online 8-week short course.

Construction management hard skills: 

  • Programming and feasibility
  • Blueprints and working drawings
  • Calculus, geometry, and other mathematics
  • Project management
  • Environmental performance
  • Familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85  
  • Saiosh guidelines 
  • Project scope and budget 
  • Quality assurance
  • Management
  • Risk assessment
  • Payment contracts
  • Cost management
  • Capital projects 
  • Public safety
  • Conceptual planning
  • Schematic design 

Construction management soft skills: 

  • Communication, written and speech 
  • Accountable
  • Organized
  • Analytical
  • Technical
  • Adaptable
  • Physically fit
  • Fast thinker
  • Decisiveness
  • Leadership
  • Good communication
  • Problem solver
  • Team player
  • Managing time well
  • Responsible

Construction Project Manager 

A construction project manager supervises the construction manager and keeps a careful eye on deadlines and budgets. Construction project management has more job opportunities, compared to other relatively similar positions. 

Construction project manager hard skills: 

  • Engineering; Nuclear and electrical power
  • Construction job planning
  • Building information modeling
  • Commercial construction
  • Residential construction
  • Project management
  • Technically capable
  • Contract drafting
  • Risk management
  • Health and safety
  • Construction phases (e.g. pre- and post-construction)
  • Familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85
  • Saiosh guidelines 

Construction project manager soft skills:

  • Prioritizing of tasks
  • Managing time well
  • Critically minded
  • Active listener
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal
  • Decisiveness
  • Problem solver
  • Detail minded
  • Team player
  • Friendly
  • Responsible


Carpenters are indispensable in construction and used to build structures, roofing, form work or framing, laying floor joists, moldings or trims. Alternatively, they may build, shape, fix and install cabinets. 

Carpenter hard skills: 

  • Roofing
  • Cabinet making
  • Furniture building
  • Carving tools
  • Sanding and sawing
  • Form work
  • Trimming
  • Joister
  • Drilling, framing and paneling
  • Knowledge of wood varieties
  • Residential woodwork
  • Industrial woodwork
  • Commercial woodwork
  • Construction woodwork
  • Renovation and restoration
  • Refinishing and retouching
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Project management 

Carpenter soft skills: 

  • Communication, written and speech
  • Decisiveness
  • Physically fit with stamina
  • Active listener
  • Managing time well
  • Team player
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem-solving 


In South Africa, electricians are in high demand and this sector offers many job opportunities. It takes roughly 5 years to complete an electrical contractor apprenticeship and to pass a Trade Test. Learnership and apprenticeship programs, that offer qualifications as an electrician, are also available at TVET Colleges in South Africa. 

Electrician hard skills: 

  • NQF level 3
  • Installation
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Knowledge of electrical systems and equipment
  • Blueprint analysis
  • Interpreting electrical plans
  • Safety regulations 

Electrician soft skills:

  • Manages time well
  • Responsible
  • Active listener
  • Attention to detail
  • Accuracy 

Warehouse Clerk 

Warehouse clerks are responsible for every logistic to do with incoming and outgoing inventory. The storage, receiving, and processing of inventory, shipping schedules and time management that make good of purchase orders. Warehouse clerks must ensure store policy is met and that the warehouse is kept neat and ordered. Warehouse clerk vacancies are also advertised as warehouse workers, stock clerks, or warehouse associates. 

Warehouse clerk hard skills:

  • Inventory management systems
  • Scanners, laser or image
  • Maintaining tools and equipment
  • Record keeping
  • Shipping regulations
  • Operating forklifts
  • Operating pallet jacks
  • Truck unloading
  • Computer literacy
  • Picking
  • Packing 

Warehouse clerk soft skills: 

  • Organized
  • Problem solver
  • Decisiveness
  • Stay calm under pressure
  • Physically fit, with stamina
  • Physically strong to lift heavy weights
  • Interpersonal
  • Manages time well
  • Team player
  • Adaptable
  • Active listener
  • Communication, written and speech 

Material Handler 

Material handlers work in warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and they are ultimately the humans to carry out customer orders. Duties include loading or off-loading trucks and packing shelves. They wrap and package items, add addresses for transport, and may use material handler equipment like forklifts to move stock around in warehouses and factories. 

Material handler hard, technical skills:  

  • Accounting
  • Kanban
  • FIFO and LIFO
  • Packaging
  • Picking
  • Kitting
  • Verification of products
  • Pallet jacks operating
  • Interpreting orders
  • Keeping record
  • Lean workflow management
  • Operating barcode scanners
  • Familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85
  • Saiosh guidelines 
  • Managing inventory

Material handler soft skills: 

  • Accuracy
  • Efficient
  • Organized
  • Detail minded
  • Physically strong
  • Physically fit with good stamina
  • Communication, written and speech
  • Active listener
  • Interpersonal
  • Team player
  • Managing time well

The construction industry is big and  has many fields not mentioned here, including engineering, plumbing, and bricklaying. 

Use your construction skills and follow this get hired fast guide...

How to get hired fast – No 1 All-inclusive guide

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