How much the average employee gets paid at Absa vs Capitec vs Nedbank vs Standard Bank

Update: The article has been updated with the correct 21st Century pay gap data.

South Africa’s big banks have all published their full annual reports for the 2018 financial year, which show how much employees were paid, including benefits.

Absa, the latest bank to publish its report, revealed that its retired CEO Maria Ramos received a R30 million payday.

Ramos’ salary was lower than previous years, capping off 12 months of major change at the bank, which included a clean divorce from former parent group Barlcays, as well as a brand overhaul in many of the markets in which the group operates.

Ramos therefore received a lower wage than her peers  – though Absa’s employees overall fared well.

Absa spent a total of R24.76 billion on its 40,856 employees in 2018, averaging at R606,000 per employee – the third highest among South Africa’s big banks.

The highest paid average employees were FirstRand, which spent R28.68 billion on 37,958 employees in its 2018 financial year (averaging at R755,550 per employee).

FirstRand interim executive director – before CEO Alan Pullinger took the reins – earned the highest amount at the banking group, taking home R49.37 million that year.

Below FirstRand as the second-highest paid employees is Standard Bank, which paid a total of R33.77 billion to 53,178 employees, averaging at R635,000 per employee.

Nedbank employees earned on average R557,920 (a total of R17.45 billion to 31,277 employees), with Capitec employees earning the lowest average at R281,060 (R3.87 billion for 13,774 employees).

Data in the tables below are from FirstRand‘s financial year end to June 2018, Capitec‘s financial year end is to February 2019 and Nedbank, Absa and Standard Bank‘s data to the end of December 2018.

Average employee salary

Company Employees Staff cost (salaries and benefits) Average per employee
FirstRand 37 958 R28.68 billion R755 550
Standard Bank 53 178 R33.77 billion R635 040
Absa 40 856 R24.76 billion R606 030
Nedbank 31 277 R17.45 billion R557 920
Capitec 13 774 R3.87 billion R281 060

Pay gaps

A 2018 report by remuneration consultancy 21st Century found that CEOs at large cap companies earn an average basic salary of R5.35 million, with short-term and long-term incentives taken into account, this would bring the average closer to R13 million.

On a guaranteed package level, the average large-cap CEO earns around 20 times more than the average employee (R274,525), 21st Century found – but when taking the total package into account this jumps to over 47 times.

Banking leads far exceeded this in 2018, largely thanks to Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie’s massive R95 million payday – 338 times larger than the average salary paid to Capitec employees.

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown’s salary is also high above the average at 95 times greater – while the rest of the banks are on or below par in terms of pay gaps.

Taking all the retail banking groups into account, the average employee salary is R541,877, with the average CEO having a salary 102 times larger at R55.3 million.

The averages are somewhat swayed by the inclusion of the salaries of the executive teams, which can often balloon to well over R100 million at each company.

Pay gaps

Company CEO salary (TGP+STI+LTI) CEO salary as % of total Pay gap
Capitec R94.99 million 2.45% 338
Nedbank R53.01 million 0.30% 95
Standard Bank R49.39 million 0.15% 78
FirstRand R49.38 million 0.17% 65
Absa R29.71 million 0.12% 49

Read: How much the average employee gets paid at Vodacom vs Telkom vs MTN

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How much the average employee gets paid at Absa vs Capitec vs Nedbank vs Standard Bank