The cheapest places to rent and work in South Africa vs the world

Online jobs website Adzuna has published a new report looking at some of the cheapest places and live and work around the world.

The group has a presence in more than 16 countries and compared salary data with jobs on offer, and average rental costs for the world’s most prominent cities.

It found South Africa to be one of the most affordable destinations to live and work in with Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Durban all falling under the top 20 countries offering the best value for money when it comes to rent versus salaries.

“Despite its economy being downgraded by Moodys again in recent weeks, the country is still seen as a good destination by expats,” Adzuna said.

“South Africans currently spend anything between 17% and 24% of their salaries on rent. Compared to popular expat destinations like New Zealand, where rental costs can be as high as 58% of the average salary), South Africa still offers a very affordable general cost of living.”

Most affordable cities to live and work in

According to the data released by Adzuna, the city of Palermo in Italy currently offers the most affordable housing.

On average, residents of Palermo contribute just 15.1% of their salaries toward their rental expenses every month.

Worth noting is that not every rented property is inhabited by only one salary-earner, which is especially the case in countries such as Brazil and India.

The Canadian city of Edmonton, South Africa’s Port Elizabeth, and Calgary (Canada) all offer competitive costs of accommodation with rent accounting for less than 18% of average salaries.

On the opposite side of the scale, accommodation costs in Salvador (Brazil), Los Angeles (USA), and Fortaleza (Brazil) are among the highest in the world with renters spending as much as 74% of their salaries on rent.

Adzuna noted that this often correlates with more people living together in a single property.

“It is reassuring to see that South Africa ranks among the most affordable cities to live and work in,” said Jesse Green, country manager for Adzuna South Africa.

“With so many South Africans now considering the idea of immigrating to popular expat destinations like New Zealand or Australia, it’s imperative to consider how one’s living expenses might change once you relocate.”

Best paying cities across the world

For job seekers looking to relocate with the sole intention of earning a higher salary, Canada, Austria, Australia, and the USA currently offer the best options.

However, Adzuna said that even though some of these cities are the best-paying destinations in the world, other factors such as the cost of living and available jobs play a detrimental role in how much a person is actually able to earn.

Adzuna compared average salary data in euros (€) to make the data easy to work with on a global scale.

While South Africa provides value for money accommodation, Adzuna said it didn’t make it into the top 10 in terms of average salaries.

The group’s data shows that South Africa is also seeing some of its highest unemployment figures in decades, which means that the country scores poorly for job security and employment opportunities.

France appears to have a much less competitive job market than most other countries, with Lyon for example having four jobs on offer for every active job seeker in the city.

The higher the percentage of employment opportunities per population, the higher your chances of finding a job within that city. Lyon was the only city in the world that had this many active opportunities on offer.

The Netherlands and Germany also tend to offer great employment opportunities with some of their major cities boasting two jobs per active job seeker.

“Even though South Africa does not provide the most job opportunities or the highest salaries, it is still one of the most affordable countries for expats to live and work in based on the average cost of living and accommodation expenses,” said Adzuna.

Unlike destinations such as New Zealand’s Auckland and Wellington – where rent is between 45% and 47% of the average salary – South Africans still only spend between 17% and 24% of their income on housing, the group said.

“For South Africans considering the idea of immigration, it might be safer to steer away from the most popular destinations like New Zealand, the UK and Australia, and instead consider options like Canada that offers competitive average salaries as well as reasonable costs of living.”


Read: Government looks to limit the hiring of foreigners in South Africa, as tensions grow

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The cheapest places to rent and work in South Africa vs the world