The 10 industries that pay the highest executive salaries in South Africa

 ·24 Sep 2023

Professional services company PwC has published its report on South African executive directors for 2023, revealing the top-paying industries for executives in the country right now.

The report analysed executive pay during the period from 1 March 2022 to 28 February 2023, focusing primarily on executive remuneration among companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The group noted that, in instances where executive directors have resigned from their roles on or before the cut-off date, they were excluded from the data set. Executive directors appointed after the company’s financial year-end have also been excluded from the analysis.

It added that, where directors were paid in foreign currency, their remunerations were concerted into rands using a one-year average exchange rate as of 28 February 2023.

The firm also focused on the ‘total guaranteed package’ (TGP), which represents the portion of total remuneration regardless of employee performance. It is a fixed cost made up of basic pay plus a cash value attributable to benefits.

As directors’ fees rarely follow a standard distribution curve, the financial services firm provided a snapshot of the average TGP across three quartiles: lower – median – and upper – on the top 200 JSE-listed companies.

An examination of TGP fees paid across the JSE shows that the average salary for chief executive officers (CEOs) was R9.36 million over the period.

By comparison, the average pay for chief financial officers (CFOs) was R5.93 million, and the average pay for executive directors was R4.84 million.

Top paying Industries

As part of its analysis of executive director remuneration trends, PwC revealed the top 10 highest-paying industries on the JSE – averaging the pay across top management, including CEOs, CFOs, and Executive Directors (EDs).

According to the data, the telecommunications industry pays the highest executive salaries, on average, across the JSE. The average telecoms executive gets paid an estimated total guaranteed package of R10.56 million – with the upper limit sitting around R13.57 million while the lower limit is R8 million.

Consumer staples – including companies in beverages, food products, tobacco, household products and personal products – are the second highest-paying industry. Execs in these fields earn, on average, R9.82 million annually, with salaries ranging from R5.36 million to R13.23 million.

Following consumer staples is the basic materials industry – such as mining – in third, with the average executive guaranteed pay estimated at R8.98 million annually, ranging from R4.88 million to R10.54 million.

The table below lists the top 10 highest-paying industries in South Africa in 2023, as outlined by PwC.

#IndustryAverage executive TGP
1TelecommunicationsR10.56 million
2Consumer StaplesR9.82 million
3Basic Materials R8.98 million
4Technology R7.91 million
5Consumer DiscretionaryR7.01 million
6Finance R6.36 million
7HealthcareR6.23 million
8IndustrialsR5.85 million
9Energy R5.74million
10Real Estate R4.45 million

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