28 jobs that have some of the highest starting salaries in South Africa – from R21,000 a month

 ·5 Feb 2024

With many fresh graduates entering the workforce in 2024 – and thousands of new matriculants going on to start their studies – a new 2024 salary survey shows the early earning potential for professional upstarts in the accounting, finance and legal sectors in South Africa.

The latest 2024 salary survey from Robert Walters shows the earning potential for those with between 0 and 2 years of experience, reflecting fresh graduates or those starting out in their careers.

The salaries covered range from general BCom graduates to specialised professionals – with each range showing the potential of going for higher tiers of qualification or even trying to get in at a bigger company.

The data shows that a BCom graduate entering the accounting space in South Africa can expect to earn between R250,000 and R350,000 a year when starting out – roughly R21,000 to R29,000 a month, cost-to-company.

This range is in line with the Quarterly Employment Survey’s assessment of the average salary in South Africa, which currently sits at R26,000 per month. This covers the entire workforce, however, including those who have been working for years.

For professionals, these salary ranges scale up significantly over time – and even for fresh faces, the opening offer can be much higher depending on the specific field they steer into. Specialisation is seen as a critical element in these fields, as these skills are in high demand.

For example, going into chartered accounting (CA), one can see the starting range boosted to between R350,000 and R450,000 when part-qualified and even further to between R550,000 and R750,000 when fully qualified.

A fully qualified CA (SA) that sticks to the field for ten years could see their earning potential hit between R1.6 million and R2.3 million a year, the survey showed.

Similar trends are seen across the other sectors. In the Banking and Financial Services sector, an honours-level graduate has the same starting range of R250,000 to R350,000 per year – but specialising in fields like Data Science or Risk Analysis can see a starting salary push to R500,000 and higher.

A standout among the starting salaries is in the Legal sector, where associates start off with much higher salaries – between R320,000 and R640,000 a year at smaller boutique firms and R640,000 to R950,000 per year at large firms.

The table below outlines the starting salaries for graduate professionals with 0 to 2 years of experience – ordered from the highest starting salary.

Job titleSectorFromTo
Private Equity or Corporate FinanceFinancial ServicesR650 000R800 000
Investment Analyst (CA plus CFA)Financial ServicesR650 000R800 000
Associate (Large firm)LegalR640 000R940 000
Treasury AccountantAccountingR600 000R770 000
Qualified CA (JHB)Financial ServicesR600 000R850 000
Qualified CA (CPT)Financial ServicesR600 000R800 000
Credit Analyst or Credit Manager (Qualified CA)Financial ServicesR600 000R800 000
CA (SA)AccountingR550 000R750 000
Finance ManagerAccountingR550 000R780 000
Credit Analyst or Credit Manager (Non-Qualified CA)Financial ServicesR500 000R650 000
Quant Risk AnalystFinancial ServicesR450 000R550 000
CIMA / CGMAAccountingR400 000R500 000
Relationship Manager or Corporate BankerFinancial ServicesR400 000R600 000
Strategy ConsultantFinancial ServicesR400 000R500 000
ActuaryFinancial ServicesR400 000R550 000
Part-qualified CA (SA)AccountingR350 000R450 000
Tax AccountantAccountingR350 000R470 000
Equity Research Analyst (NQ)Financial ServicesR350 000R500 000
Data ScientistFinancial ServicesR350 000R500 000
Ops Risk ManagerFinancial ServicesR350 000R400 000
Associate (Boutique)LegalR320 000R640 000
Fund AccountantFinancial ServicesR300 000R400 000
AML OfficerFinancial ServicesR300 000R450 000
BComAccountingR250 000R350 000
Part-qualified CIMAAccountingR250 000R300 000
Internal AuditorAccountingR250 000R420 000
Management Consultant (Non-CA)Financial ServicesR250 000R350 000
Graduate (Honours level)Financial ServicesR250 000R350 000

Read: South Africa is running out of accountants

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