Updated 09.03.2023

What is the Average Salary in South Africa in 2023

Most South Africans would like to know what the average salary in South Africa is, and rightfully so. Like residents of any other country in the world, South Africans expect compensation or salary after completing specific tasks. Employers are required by law to provide remuneration for their employees once they complete tasks as agreed, usually in an employment contract. Remuneration usually consists of a basic salary dependent on the market rate and experience level.

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Most countries across the globe have a minimum wage that the least paid employee should expect as income. Besides that, there is an average wage that most employees in South Africa get. This article attempts to explain and describe this and how it is arrived at. Keep reading to understand more.

Overall Average Salary in South Africa

The average salary of a South African employee is currently said to be R23 982 (South African Rand) per month, which translates to approximately USD 1500 as of May 2022.

This average was published by the Statistics South Africa in its Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for Q4 2021. The data provided shows that the average monthly salary paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector increased by 0.3% since the last quarter.

The average monthly salary encompasses all other benefits, including housing, transport and hardship allowances. To better understand the salary distribution in South Africa, it helps to look at the salaries in terms of the sector or industry. Depending on the careers and job title, the salaries can vary significantly. 

Salary Ranges, Median and Percentages

The range of salaries paid in South Africa is often between 7880 ZAR and 139,000 ZAR. There may be a few variations, especially with the highest salary range, because actual salaries may exceed this amount.

For the median salary, a figure of 29990 ZAR is arrived at. This often translates to the half the population earning  29,900 ZAR and below while the remaining half of the population is making 29900 ZAR and above. The median average usually covers the middle ground.

A different way of looking at salaries would be to consider the percentiles of the population. In South Africa, about 25 percent of the population earns less than 17000 ZAR, with 75 percent making more than the same amount. On the other hand, 75 percent of the population earns less than 81100 ZAR, while only 25 percent earn about this amount.

Salary Indicators

You can look at salaries from the median and average angle. These two indicators are critical in explaining your position. Anyone earning higher than both the average and median amounts is doing quite well. Those with a Doctorate or Bachelors degree will often be on a higher salary which is why many further education establishments argue that paying for a degree program provides a solid return on investment.

On the other hand, anyone with a salary below the two amounts is not performing well and has vast room for improvement. It is challenging to gauge the salary performance if one’s salary is right on the median or average amounts. This cannot be very easy.

Average Salary Progression Over Time

The work environment should be progressive. Anyone who experiences growth at work should expect a salary increment over time. Growth in experience should translate to improvements in the size of salary payouts. Usually, experience at work is the most significant factor in salary determination.

For example, employees with two years of experience at work are expected to earn 32 percent more than new entrants or freshers/ juniors regardless of the sector or industry. On the same note, professionals with five years or more will earn 36 percent more than those with lesser experience in the same workplace.

You should know that the salary change based on one’s experience can also be influenced by other factors and vary from one field to another. Usually, most disciplines will offer a salary increment of 21 percent when one has over a decade of experience in the industry.

Employees who have over 15 years of experience can expect a salary increment of not less than 14 %. Generally, one is expected to have doubled their first salary by the time they cross the 10-year mark in an industry or company.

Salaries Based on Education

Besides the experience determined by how long one works in a particular sector, there is also the education level which is a significant determinant of salary increment. The assumption is that the higher one is educated, the higher their salary.

However, the specific increment and changes in salary averages based on this factor will depend on the location and field of work. Diploma and certificate holders are likely to earn 17 % more than their counterparts who attained high school education.

Those with a bachelor’s will earn 24% more than those below them, while those with a master’s will earn 29% more than those below average. Choosing to advance your education while still on a job is often a tactic to get salary increments for most people.

A salary review is usually considered after the completion of the course. In most cases, the salary increment that comes with changing jobs is 10% more than you would averagely get with a regular increment at your previous workplace. Even so, other factors also play a role in this.

Salaries Based on Sector

 The average income will vary depending on which sector someone is working in. For example, software engineer job paths or those working in the finance sector will often have a higher average salary. It can take 1-4 years of training until the best salary increases can be seen, although often the starting salary will also be higher in these industries. 


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Job is a seasoned writer with a good understanding of the emerging markets, Africa to be specific.