How much the average employee gets paid at SA’s biggest banks

While South African banking CEOs are some of the highest-paid executives in the country, that reward scheme largely trickles down the entire employment chain.

Jobs data by StatsSA for 2016 showed that average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector was at R17,517 per month – translating to R210,200 annually.

Looking at payment data gleamed from the full year reports of South Africa’s five largest banks, the average salary paid to employees in the sector comes to R457,000 – more than double the national average.

Understandably, Investec emerges as the bank that pays its employees the most, on average. This is due to several factors, namely that it primarily serves as an asset manager for corporate clients, it has a smaller workforce than the other large banks (9,000 permanent employees), and all reporting is done in British pounds.

According to reported figures, the private banking and wealth group’s spend of R13.1 billion on staff costs (GBP757 million) averages to R1.45 million per employee. CEO, Stephen Koseff earned just short of R60 million for the year –  41 times greater than the average employee.


Read: Battle of the banks: how SA’s big five banks compare


While this gap seems significant, it is actually the smallest gap in the South African banking sector.

Capitec CEO, Gerrie Fourie, carried the largest salary gap – 183 times greater than the average employee – with his salary of R35.6 million for the 2017 financial year far outweighing the average paid to its 13,000 employees of R195,000.

The table below shows how much the average employee earned at SA banks in the latest financial year.

Company Employees Total cost Average per employee
Investec 9 029 R13.12 billion R1 452 550
Standard Bank 54 767 R30.98 billion R565 600
FirstRand 45 100 R24.46 billion R542 400
Absa 41 241 R20.80 billion R504 350
Nedbank 32 401 R15.50 billion R478 380
Capitec 13 069 R2.54 billion R194 130

Recent reports by auditing firms PwC and Deloitte have raised debate around the levels of executive pay in South Africa, particularly when contrasted with employee pay.

While the high averages noted above are not a true reflection of how many employees are remunerated – the figures will be skewed by management, who receive much higher salaries than general workers – they do provide a basis through which pay disparity can be measured.

The table below shows how large these gaps are in the SA banking sector. For a look at the gaps among mobile operators you can read our previous coverage here.

Company CEO salary CEO salary as % of total Pay gap
Capitec R35.6 million 1.4% 183
FirstRand R42.5 million 0.3% 115
Standard Bank R44.5 million 0.1% 79
Nedbank R36.8 million 0.2% 77
Absa R29.5 million 0.1% 59
Investec R59.1 million 0.5% 41

Read: The cheapest and most expensive bank accounts in South Africa

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended