The DHET skills forecasting model


Asghar Adelzadeh and Siphelo Ngcwangu

As part of the Labour Market Intelligence Partnership (LMIP), the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) of the University of Witwatersrand and Applied Development Research Solutions (ADRS), an independent specialist organization based in the United States and South Africa, are responsible for the research and development of a skills forecasting model. During the last two years, the team undertook major statistical analyses of South African data and constructed the Linked Macro-Education Model (LM-EM) of South Africa. The model was presented to the Minister of Higher Education and Training in November 2013.

The LM-EM Approach

LM-EM captures the interactions between macroeconomics and the education sector in South Africa. It fits within the family of skills forecasting models that are used in the European Union (EU)and other developed economies to support planning of future outputs from the education sector.

The LM-EM modelling approach involves 6 steps:

* Use the ADRS multi-sector Macroeconometric Model of South Africa (MEMSA) to produce projections of future labour demand for the economy and its sectors;
* Research statistical links between the demand for labour, occupations and educational qualifications; * Research replacement demand for various occupations;
* Research the supply of educational qualifications; * Construct computer modules that translate the macro model’s projection of future sector demand for labour into corresponding demands for occupations and educational skills, generate estimates of replacement demand for various occupations, produce projections of skills supply from the education and training sector, and produce predictions and estimates of possible labour market imbalances and skill mismatches; and
* Fully verify and validate the model.


    Critical questions LM-EM answers

* What impact do changes in macroeconomic conditions and performance (i.e., growth path scenarios) have on the demand for occupations and qualifications?
* Under specific scenarios what is the expected supply of qualifications?
* Which occupational groups will be in most demand during the next 10 years?
* What are the possible future trends in demand for various educational qualifications?

    Useful output generated by LM-EM


* Employment demand for 45 economic sectors;
* Demand for eleven aggregated and about 400 disaggregated occupations;
* Demand for seven aggregated and 27 disaggregated levels of educational qualifications; and
* Supply of seven levels of educational qualifications by race.

As part of the project, the DHET will introduce a user-friendly web-version of LM-EM to the public in 2014.

To learn more about this project or LM-EM, please contact Asghar Adelzadeh ( or Siphelo Ngcwangu (

Dr Asghar Adelzadeh is ADRS's Senior Economic Modeler

Siphelo Ngcwangu is a Research Associate at the Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL), University of the Witwatersrand

Quick links

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Book on the Doctorate

Fact sheet on NEET's

Evaluating the ‘MOT'

A case study of higher education curriculum

LMIP: Reconfiguring the post-schooling sector



The DHET skills forecasting model

Research update from SAQA

Update on ministerial task teams

Curriculum innovation programme (CIP)

LMIP fosters the research-policy nexus




Statistics on post-school education and training, 2012


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The Research Bulletin on Post-School Education and Training is prepared by the Directorate: Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation. Enquiries or contributions may be directed to: Lesego RamoseTel: 012 312 5657 Email: Department of Higher Education and Training, 123 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria 0001