While the salary figures on pay slips may have increased over the past two years – in real terms, the average South African is poorer than they were at the start of 2015.
Financial institution Bankserv recently released its Disposable Salary Index (BDSI), detailing how much disposable income South Africans are left with each month.
The data is based on BankservAfrica transaction data and represents around three million people out of a formal workforce of 8.3 million using the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) from Statistics South Africa as a guide.
“Real salary adjustments in December reflected the longest – and fastest – decline since the BankservAfrica BDSI data started in 2011,” said Dr Caroline Belrose, head of Information Services at BankservAfrica.
On a year-on-year level, disposable salaries in December 2016 were lower than December 2015 and 2014.
In January 2015, the average nominal disposable income was R12,808 – R11,506 in real terms. Fast forward to December 2016, where Bankserv’s data shows nominal salaries had increased to R14,102 per month, but in real terms actually decreased to R11,309.
Belrose said that the 1.5% decline is likely to impact consumers with income pressures resulting in reduced spend on major purchases such as cars, houses and furniture.
“There is no doubt that most consumers were under pressure for most of 2016 and parts of 2015. The December BDSI suggests that this will continue in Q1 2017 as overall consumer expenditure is expected to remain subdued with lower than inflation salary increases likely to continue in the next few months,” said Mike Schüssler, chief economist at Economists dotcoza.
However, as 2017 increases will be based on higher inflation in 2016, the real declines should stabilise as soon as the annual salary increases are implemented around the March to April period, the economist said.
This is how nominal vs real salaries have changed since January 2015:
|Month||Nominal Ave Disposable Salaries||Real Disposable Salaries|
|Jan-15||R12 808||R11 560|
|Feb-15||R12 576||R11 279|
|Mar-15||R12 271||R10 850|
|Apr-15||R11 996||R10 514|
|May-15||R12 322||R10 771|
|Jun-15||R12 551||R10 924|
|Jul-15||R12 965||R11 167|
|Aug-15||R13 052||R11 242|
|Sep-15||R13 005||R11 201|
|Oct-15||R12 954||R11 129|
|Nov-15||R12 969||R11 132|
|Dec-15||R13 413||R11 484|
|Jan-16||R13 710||R11 648|
|Feb-16||R13 432||R11 259|
|Mar-16||R13 012||R10 825|
|Apr-16||R12 877||R10 624|
|May-16||R13 142||R10 825|
|Jun-16||R13 266||R10 865|
|Jul-16||R13 488||R10 957|
|Aug-16||R13 484||R10 963|
|Sep-16||R13 755||R11 165|
|Oct-16||R13 413||R10 834|
|Nov-16||R13 624||R10 970|
|Dec-16||R14 102||R11 309|
According to a Stats SA report released in 2016, the average monthly salary at the end of 2015 was R17,517 per month, including bonuses and overtime.