Crime, National Health Insurance and a shortage of maths and science graduates are pushing graduate professionals to consider emigration.
The quarterly PPS Graduate Professionals Confidence Index, which tracks confidence levels of about 6000 graduate professionals, found that the number of professionals who are confident of remaining in the country has dropped from 84% to 78%.
"Though a confidence level of 78% is still very positive, it is concerning that this figure has declined," said the PPS head of group marketing and stakeholder relations, Gerhard Joubert yesterday.
"Graduate professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants are a crucial segment of the economy and, as do many other countries, we already face a major skills shortage within these important professions.
"It is crucial that the concerns of this segment are taken into account to ensure that we do not lose further scarce skills."
He said more dentists were considering emigrating because they were finding working in South Africa "tough" and were "not getting a slice of the pie".
The SA Dental Association last year said several dentists were struggling to stay in practice because during tough economic times dentistry was low on the list of essential needs.
The survey found that professionals were concerned about the feasibility of National Health Insurance and that confidence in the future of healthcare in South Africa dropped 5% to 45%.
Eighty-four percent of professionals believe National Health Insurance is not the cure for the ailing health system.
Joubert said professionals were concerned that the NHI green paper did not give sufficient detail.
"Many graduate professionals support the principle of improving the healthcare system . to ensure better healthcare for all citizens but are concerned about the way in which it is being implemented.
"Further consultation on the issue is vital to ensure that all stakeholders buy into the process," he said.
The web-based survey found that 94% of respondents were troubled by the lack of maths and science graduates in the country.
"Many of our skills shortages are in professions that require a mathematics or science degree, so it is critical that we address the reasons for fewer people choosing to study these subjects. Fewer graduates in these fields will lead to an even greater skills shortage in the future," Joubert said.
Only 42% of respondents were confident that employment would improve over the next five years.