Cornelius SL Schutte, Denzil Kennon, Wouter Bam


The industrial engineering discipline in South Africa is examined by introducing the context of the discipline and by revisiting its history. The drivers influencing the context and future of industrial engineering in South Africa are also considered, and the discipline is analysed in terms of the following aspects: university qualifications, employment in industry sectors, race and gender profiles, use and competence in industry, and income profiles. The analysis is based on a recent survey sent to practising industrial engineers, on membership data from the Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering (SAIIE), and on two internal SAIIE investigations. The study concludes that the success of transformation, particularly in terms of race, has been limited. The results also indicate that there are an almost equal number of black and white industrial engineers, yet the majority of black industrial engineers have technical qualifications, while the majority of white industrial engineers have academic qualifications. The results indicate that this limits the use of black industrial engineers in industry and, consequently, the success of their careers. This in turn means that there are fewer black role models to attract young black students to the discipline. Some preliminary opportunities to unlock the increased transformation of the profession are identified. 


Industrial Engineering, Status

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