Opinion

The Sad reality of South African salaries

The unemployment rate in South Africa is alarmingly high at 27.6% however the cost of living for those who are employed poses as a major challenge as many are unable to survive on the national minimum wage of R3,500 per month.

A survey conducted by automated recruitment platform, Giraffe revealed that around 29% of the working population in South Africa earn less than the national minimum wage, while the average monthly salary is around R6,400.  This is still not a liveable monthly salary.

A very different picture is painted when compared to a survey conducted by Stats SA who collects data via the South African National Payments System where batches of salary payments are recorded for transactions which are made between banks.

Stats SA includes managerial and CEO salaries, unlike Giraffe who only made use of data received from workers.  Stats SA puts the average salary at R14,385.

Intern salaries are almost minimum wage

A US-based worldwide employment-related search engine for job listings called Indeed, utilised anonymously submitted salary amounts to conclude that the average South African Intern earns around R3,940 per month, which is slightly more than minimum wage.

In essence, an intern is someone who is seeking work experience and knowledge such as an article clerk in a law firm and are therefore not classified as employees, but rather trainees.

Based on the fact that an intern is classified as a trainee, they feel they should be exempt from paying tax and Unemployment Insurance Fund. (UIF).

Jobs which are in the greatest demand

According to data gathered from the Career Junction website the architecture & engineering and construction sectors have had a notable decrease in labour demand over the past year by more than 40%.

There has been an increased search for nursing/professional care-giving, IT project administration/management and business analysis,

The average salary for intermediate level nursing / professional care-giving is R32,000 per month while an IT project Administrator / Manager could expect R60,000 per month and a Business Analyst around R45,000 per month.

Retail is the biggest employer but lowest earners

The retail industry employs 18% of the workforce however they are the lowest earners, with most earning below minimum wage.

While the Banking and IT sectors are the highest paying, they employ the least with only 8% of the working population.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has on numerous occasions mentioned reducing poverty, inequality and boosting employment in South Africa but he is yet to succeed in this endeavour.

Don’t hold your breath for a good salary increase

According to statistics, the average take-home pay increased by 5,3% year-on-year and while the GDP might grow by 0.5%, consumer spending will average 1% growth.