Living and working in Cape Town, South Africa

There’s something magical about South Africa. Whether it’s the incredible natural landscapes, the melting pot of cultures, or the laidback lifestyle that appeals, expats from all over the world have had their heads turned by this magnificent part of the world. Those that decide to stay awhile and find a place to call their home, tend to settle for one of the two most popular cities, Johannesburg or Cape Town; but it’s the latter with its epic mountain vistas, spectacular beaches and comparatively low cost of living that has won the hearts of those expats who most embrace the good life.
Expat life in Cape Town
Quality of life in Cape Town comes at a fraction of the cost of living in London. According to Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey which places cities across the world into an order of affordability so that expats can work out just how far their salary will stretch, Cape Town is second only to another South African destination – Windhoek in Namibia. When collating their data, Mercer take into account such factors as the cost of renting an apartment, groceries and the price of a cup of coffee in order to determine just how much an expat employee could be expected to pay to live in a particular city.
As well as lower costs, expats considering a move to Cape Town can expect a relaxed ambience to balance out the daily grind of the working week as well as a wide variety of diverse leisure activities to choose from. Wine aficionados can indulge at world class vineyards whilst hikers will find excellent nature trails wending their way through the surrounding landscapes.
Team this with several excellent educational institutions, high quality healthcare and an array of excellent dining and shopping opportunities, and you will find Cape Town is a very easy place for an expat to settle into.
Working in Cape Town
The Cape Town lifestyle makes the city an appealing place to work and staff turnover is relatively low. Consequently, there are fewer job opportunities here with lower salaries that you might expect from working in Johannesburg.
However, there are a number of thriving international businesses located in Cape Town and those expats with the right skills could potentially land themselves a comfortable position in this popular city.
Key industries represented in Cape Town include the media and advertising sector as well as IT and asset management. Bilingual expats could easily find employment in the tourism and hospitality industries whilst creative souls with drive and an entrepreneurial streak will find the city an inspirational place to work – it was awarded the coveted title of World Design Capital in 2014. Additionally, those with an interest in the film industry might well find seasonal work in this region that lends itself so well to the silver screen.
It’s advisable to secure a position before moving to Cape Town, but once in the city, you will find that many more opportunities arise through smart networking and word of mouth. There are also recruitment agencies to take advantage of too.
Information correct at time of publication