Here’s how much money top CEOs and executives earn in South Africa

Professional services company PwC has published its report on South African executive directors for 2021, highlighting how much top management is earning in the country right now.

The report analysed executive pay during the period from 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021, focusing primarily on executive remuneration among companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

It also includes high-level analyses of companies listed on seven selected sub-Saharan African stock exchanges.

As directors’ fees rarely follow a standard distribution curve, PwC used quartile/percentage range rather than averages. The firm also focused on ‘total guaranteed package’  (TGP) which represents the portion of total remuneration regardless of employee performance.

An examination of TGP fees paid across the JSE shows that the median salary for chief executives was R5.17 million over the period.

By comparison, the median pay for chief financial officers was R3.34 million, and the median pay for executive directors was R3.32 million.

Super caps 

Super caps represent the top 10 companies on the JSE. As of 28 February 2021, these companies accounted for 71% of the exchange’s total market capitalisation.

The salaries paid to executives at these salaries reflect their size and value, with some chief executives earning more than five times the JSE median.

An examination of fees paid across the JSE’s super caps shows that the average salary for chief executives was R24.1 million.

The average pay for chief financial officers was R16.1 million, and the average pay for executive directors was R23 million.

Short-term incentives 

Short-term incentives (STIs) are cash payments that are intended to remunerate executive directors for the achievement of annual business and personal goals.

In its analysis, PwC found that the Covid-19 pandemic created significant uncertainty and as a result impacted remuneration decisions. Compounding this uncertainty was a guidance note issued by the South African Reserve Bank which cautioned banks against paying bonuses to executives.

While some companies revised STIs in line with this uncertainty, other companies continued with payments, while some cancelled payments altogether.

The data shows that the median STIs across the JSE was R620,000, with chief executives typically earning around R880,000.

As with the pay data, this number rises significantly at large-cap companies, where the median STI was R8.4 million for chief executives.


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Here’s how much money top CEOs and executives earn in South Africa