South Africa has one of the largest economies in Africa, and this has enabled it to attain an average salary estimated at R31,100 ($2,026) per month or R374,000 ($24,169) per year. Consequently, it ranks among the top five African countries with the highest average salaries. This has attracted several immigrants from the African continent, looking for socio-economic opportunities, to the country.
Over the years, there have been skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled jobs in SA, although most employers prefer to hire locals. Notwithstanding, highly skilled foreigners are presented with work opportunities in the country. Even though the average salary in South Africa looks appealing, there are cities in the country that have a higher average salary than the national average. This depends on several factors such as economic growth, nature of the job, and cost of living.
What is a Good Salary in South Africa?
Currently, salaries in the country range from a minimum of R4,250 to a maximum of R139,000 monthly. On the other hand, is the median salary estimated at R30,100 monthly. This means that half of the South African working population earns more than R30,100 monthly, and the other half earns less than the median wage.
Therefore, people earning above the national average salary per month (R31,100) and the median wage per month (R30,100) are said to be earning a good salary in the country. However, it’s worth noting that what is considered a good salary in the country might not be enough for someone to live comfortably in cities with a high cost of living, such as Cape Town. Hence, a good salary will vary depending on location, lifestyle, and needs.
As one of the most industrialized nations on the African continent, South Africa boasts many important economic sectors, including mining, manufacturing, banking and services sector, community services, IT and communications, and construction sectors. Hence, average salaries vary across the different sectors in the country, with some earning significantly higher salaries than the national average monthly salary.
For instance, those working in the electricity, gas, and water sector earn an average monthly salary of R44,228 ($2,539), which is higher than the monthly average salary of R31,100 in SA. Meanwhile, people working in the community, social and personal services sector (which include civil servants, health professionals, and university staff) earn an average monthly salary of R26,062 ($1,495).
Does South Africa Pay Workers Better Than Other African Countries?
Based on research conducted by Salary Explorer, a well-known salary comparison and career website, South Africa ranks second on the list of top 10 African countries with the highest average salary per month. With an average salary of R31,100 ($2,026) per month, South Africa ranks slightly behind Morocco, which tops the list with a national average salary of DH19,400 ($2,031) per month. This list is as follows:
1. Morroco – DH19,400 ($2,031)
2. South Africa – ZAR31,100 ($2,026)
3. Tunisia – TND3,910 ($1,348)
4. Kenya – SH147,000 ($1,291)
5. Algeria – DZD180,000 ($1,273)
6. Namibia – ND17,400 ($1,168)
7. Botswana – BWP11,700 ($1,000)
8. Nigeria – N339,000 ($814)
9. Ghana – GHS5,070 ($747.9)
10. Uganda – UGX2,620,000 ($738)
Factors That Increase or Decrease Monthly Salaries in South Africa
Every year, the average monthly salary in South Africa either increases or decreases due to diverse factors. They include wage policies of the government, wage bargaining power of trade unions, economic outlook, demand and supply of certain skills, cost of training, the productivity of employees, and job location. Also, a worker’s salary can progress over time in the country based on years of work experience and education level.
It’s noteworthy that gender influences salary earnings in SA as male workers tend to earn on average 8 percent more than female employees across many career fields in the country. Now, let’s look at salary comparison by years of experience and education level.
Salary Progression by Years of Work Experience
It’s not new that the more years of worker’s experience, the higher the wage they receive. It has been reported that by the time a worker crosses the ten-year experience mark, their salary doubles the starting salary on average. However, variations in salary based on experience depend mostly on the career field and equally on location. A salary progresses by years of experience in the following ways:
|Years of Work Experience||Salary Progression|
|Workers with two to five years of work experience||They earn on average 32% more than juniors and newly employed|
|Workers with more than five years of work experience||They earn, on average, 36% more than those with five years or less work experience|
|Workers with ten years of work experience||Salary increases by 21%|
|Those who have crossed the 15 years mark||Salary increases by 35%|
Salary Increase by Education Level
Education level is one of the most important factors determining workers’ salaries in South Africa. The effect is so huge that people having the same work experience but different education levels in the same career field earn varying salaries. The salary variations are listed below:
|Education Level||Salary Progression|
|Workers with Diploma certificate||They earn, on average, 17% more than those with a Matric certificate|
|Workers with Bachelor’s degree||They earn 24% more than those with a Diploma certificate|
|Professionals with a Master’s degree||They earn 29% more than employees with Bachelor’s degree|
|Professionals with a Ph.D. degree||They earn, on average, 23% more than those with Master’s degrees doing the same job.|
Salaries in South Africa’s Rich and Poor Cities
According to the research conducted by online job aggregator, Adzuna based on job adverts published on the site, it was discovered that South Africa’s wealth is concentrated in three provinces, namely Gauteng, Western Cape, and Limpopo. In other words, these provinces are essentially the income hubs of the nation. While Gauteng has the highest average salary of R397,345 per year, Western Cape is behind with R382,353 and Limpopo at R380,710.
Based on the report, the average salary per year of the provinces in South Africa are listed as follows:
- Gauteng – R397,345
- Western Cape – R382,353
- Limpopo – R380,710
- Northern Cape – R351,461
- Mpumalanga – R339,397
- Free State – R334,758
- North West – R331,451
- KwaZulu-Natal – R331,148
- Eastern Cape – R293,011
Then regarding South Africa’s cities, Cape Town ranks atop the list of cities with the highest average salary, having an estimated average salary of R434,400 per year. Durban sits second with an average annual salary of R415,200, followed by Johannesburg at R399,600 average salary per year and Pretoria at R392,400 average annual salary.
What Is The Average Monthly Salary in Pretoria?
As one of the capital cities of South Africa, Pretoria ranks among the top five cities with the highest average monthly salary. An employee working in the town is said to be earning about R32,700 on average per month. This average monthly salary includes transport, housing, and other benefits. Salaries paid in Pretoria range from a minimum of R8,270 monthly to a maximum of R149,000 monthly as it varies between diverse career fields.
Then the median salary paid in the city is R35,300. This means that half of the people working in Pretoria earn more than R35,300 per month, and the other half earn less than Pretoria’s median monthly salary. Also, the average wage paid to a worker in Pretoria per hour is R190.
What Is The Average Salary in Cape Town?
As the city with the highest average salary in South Africa, workers in Cape Town earn an average monthly salary of R36,200, which accumulates to R434,400 per year. The average monthly salary includes benefits such as housing and transport. The minimum average monthly salary paid to workers in Cape Town is estimated at R9,170, and the maximum salary is R162,000.
On the other hand, the median salary is R37,000. This shows that half of the workers in Cape Town earn below R37,000 monthly and the other half earn above the median figure every month. Additionally, the average hourly wage in Cape Town is approximately R210.
What Is The Average Salary in Bloemfontein?
Bloemfontein is the only capital city of South Africa where workers earn below the national average monthly salary of R31,100. The average monthly salary in Bloemfontein is R30,200. The city’s monthly salary range from a minimum average of R7,650 per month to a maximum average salary of R135,000 monthly.
On the other hand, the median salary in Bloemfontein is R30,900 as half of the working population earns more than R30,900 monthly, and the other half earns less than R30,900 monthly. Then the average wage paid to an employee in the city per hour is R170.
Formal Sector Average Salary Vs. Informal Sector Average Salary
The formal sector is an organized employment system with a clear set of rules and job responsibilities. They include those working in the public sector, private companies, civil service, management organizations, colleges, schools, research institutes, banks, etc. Then the informal sector, on the other hand, includes businesses and operators outside of regulated economic activities and protected labor relations.
They include traditional medicine practitioners, mechanics, plumbers, tavern and shebeen operators, and construction laborers, among many others. In South Africa, those working in the informal sector are reportedly more than three million people, and about 73 percent of informal operators earn below R6,500 per month or R79,000 per year. Whereas a few others are said to be earning on average R1,300 monthly.
On the contrary, people working in the nation’s formal sector earn the highest average monthly salary, according to the data published by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). In the fourth quarter of 2021, workers in the electricity, gas, and water supply industry earned an average monthly salary of R54,881. Then those working in the non-government sector earned an average salary of R32,907 per month, followed by community, social, and personal services workers at R32,172.
Additionally, people working in the hotel and restaurant industry earned on average R10,277, which is the lowest average monthly salary pocketed in the formal sector in the 4th quarter. This is followed by the knitted and crocheted fabrics industry at R10,345. Also, workers in the textile, clothing, and leather sector had the third-lowest average monthly salary at R12,134.
Public and Private Sectors’ Average Salary in South Africa
Workers in the private sector in South Africa are reportedly earning 7% less than their counterparts in the public sector. While those in the public sector make on average R32,300 per month, employees in the private sector earn an average monthly salary of R30,200. However, in the government sector, employees earn the lowest average salary of R8,700 per month or R103,562 per annum. Then the maximum earners in the government sector take home on average R175,000 monthly or R2.1 million per annum.
It’s noteworthy that people working in the government sector are placed in 16 different salary bands. They are listed as follows:
Government Workers’ Salary Bands and Average Salary Per Annum
|Salary Bands||Average Annual Salary per Salary Level||Total Number of Employees per Salary Level|
Highlights of the Average Monthly Salaries of Some Popular Jobs in South Africa
- Accounting Manager – R53,900
- Accountant – R25,600
- Accounting Assistant – R19,200
- Chartered Accountant – R32,000
- Financial Analyst – R44,600
- Internal Auditor – R35,300
- Financial Manager – R73,700
- Office Manager – R31,300
- Secretary – R16,600
- Graphic Designer – R21,900
- Art Director – R35,400
- Creative Director – R35,200
- Aerospace Engineer – R46,600
- Pilot – R63,500
- Air Traffic Controller – R38,300
- Flight Attendant – R23,400
- Bank Branch Manager – R63,200
- Teacher (bilingual) – R28,300
- Business Development Manager – R55,900
- Project Manager – R40,400
- Business Analyst – R43,900
- Nursery Teacher – R12,900
- Nanny – R14,300
- Journalist – R40,000
- Attorney – R68,100
- Civil Engineer – R32,200
- Health and Safety Officer – R15,900
- Customer Service Manager – R49,500
- Call Center Representative – R13,700
- Mechanical Engineer – R32,400
- Electrical Engineer – R33,200
- Nurse – R27,600
- Software Developer/Programmer – R34,80
- General Manager – R64,200
- Chief Financial Officer – R72,900
- Chief Executive Officer – R76,700
How Can I Earn More Money in South Africa?
Nowadays, the cost of living in South Africa has constantly been on the rise. As a result, relying on a monthly wage is no longer enough to meet monthly expenses. And also, many people struggle to keep money in their savings accounts, bracing up for retirement.
However, there are diverse ways one can make extra income in the country to support the monthly wage and also be able to save for retirement. But these means might require you to work after hours and even on weekends. The sacrifices, nonetheless, are worth it if you wish to live comfortably in the rainbow nation. The many ways to earn more money in SA are:
- Cryptocurrency investment
- Rent out a spare room in your home
- Start a blog
- Join an online agency
- Buy and sell domain names
- Start online trading
- Become an online English teacher
- Answer online surveys and test new products
- Register your car on Uber, InDriver, or Taxify
- Make money on Amazon Mechanical Turk
- Offer freelance services online
- Start using Amazon Kindle Publishing
- Advertise for startups on social media
- Start a YouTube channel
- Use Uber Eats or MrD Food apps to deliver food