South African banking CEOs – some of the highest earners in the country – are taking home between 40 and 80 times more than their average employees.
Looking at South Africa’s five biggest retail banking groups – Barclay’s Africa, Standard Bank, FirstRand, Capitec and Nedbank – the average retail banking employee earns an average of R360,000 per year.
Meanwhile, across the groups, CEOs take an average of R2.1 million – almost 60 times as much as the average employee.
The bank that pays its staff the highest average salary is FirstRand which, with over 38,500 employees and staff costs of R20.7 billion (including salaries, bonuses, training and other benefits), pays an average of R536,000 per employee.
Standard Bank – recently listed as South Africa’s biggest company – pays employees an average of R507,000 a year, the second highest amount in the sector.
Standard Bank has almost 50,000 employees, and in the 2014 financial year spent R25 billion on staff costs.
Highest average salaries
Nedbank CEO, Mike Brown, was the top earner among banking execs in 2014, taking home a salary of R35 million for the year.
This is 77 times greater than the average employee earns at the bank, which sits at R453,720 for its 30,500 employees.
FirstRand CEO, Sizwe Nxasana, took home a salary of R29.5 million for the year – 55 times larger than the average employee, ranking third after Absa, which has a pay gap of 58 times.
Standard Bank has the lowest pay gap, after its joint CEOs, Ben Kruger and Sim Tshabalala, took a pay knock in the last financial year.
In 2014, Standard Bank suffered from a sub-par performance in its London operations, which saw flat growth in earnings for the financial year.
The pay gap between Tshabalala and Kruger and the average employee is 48x and 37x, respectively.
|Bank||No. of employees||Salary spend||Average|
|FirstRand||38 542||R20.7 billion||R536 324|
|Standard Bank||49 259||R25.0 billion||R507 521|
|Nedbank||30 499||R13.8 billion||R453 720|
|Absa||43 765||R19.3 billion||R440 922|
|Capitec||10 261||R2.1 billion||R204 658|
|Bank||Employee Average||CEO pay||Gap (times greater)|
|Nedbank||R453 720||R35.1 million||77|
|Absa||R440 922||R28.6 million||58|
|FirstRand||R536 324||R29.49 million||55|
|Capitec||R204 658||R10.3 million||50|
|Standard Bank||R507 521||R24.3 million||48|
|Standard Bank||R507 521||R19.0 million||37|
CEO pay as % of salary spend
According to research conducted by Mergence Investment in 2014, South Africa sits with the 5th highest average pay gap in the world, after the USA (1st), Hong Kong (2nd), Germany (3rd), and the UK (4th).
The group noted that, given the size and scale of the companies on the JSE, “the amounts that are paid to executives are small relative to the total salary bill of the company and to the operating expenses of the company”.
“This incentivises corporate boards and shareholders to spend to obtain the best management teams.”
In context of the SA banking sector, executive salaries as a percentage of total salary spend is relatively small, not exceeding 0.5% of total salary spend.
|Company||CEO pay||Salary spend||% of spend|
|Capitec||R10.3 million||R2.1 billion||0.49%|
|Nedbank||R35.1 million||R13.8 billion||0.25%|
|FirstRand||R29.49 million||R20.7 billion||0.14%|
|Absa||R28.6 million||R19.3 billion||0.13%|
|Standard Bank||R24.3 million||R25.0 billion||0.10%|
|Standard Bank||R19.0 million||R25.6 billion||0.08%|