Here’s how South African salary increases are set to be hit over the next 12 months

The technical recession continues to loom large over South Africa’s economic landscape and remains a talking point among CEOs, CFOs and HR directors.

This is according to a new quarterly HR report published by PwC which notes that while profits are plunging, share prices continue to be under pressure and of course shareholders want a higher return on their investment.

At the same time, employees are continuously faced with increases in living costs, while taking home less pay.

“The contraction of manufacturing output, retail sales, infrastructure expenditure and the downturn in new vehicle sales sketches quite a grim picture,” said PwC.

“The anticipated average increases to be awarded in the next rolling 12- month period will be slightly above CPI (CPI is 5.1% in the third quarter) with the average of 6.1% on a total guaranteed package basis across industry sectors.

“This is indicative that organisations are continuing to be conservative in their approach as they shy away from the double-digit increases.”

Below PwC set out the minimum and maximum expected total package increments for the next twelve month period – as of October 2018.

Employee category Minimum Maximum
Executives 4.0% 8.0%
Management 4.0% 7.0%
General staff 4.0% 7.0%
Unionised staff 6.0% 7.5%
Total lift to payroll 4.0% 8.0%


According to a recent BusinessDay report, South African businesses may soon have to disclose the gap between its highest and lowest paid worker, and the difference in pay between men and women.

This follows an agreement reached by Business Unity SA (BUSA) who said that companies would be encouraged to voluntarily disclose pay differentials, with a view to making these commitments compulsory within 12 months.

These details will be disclosed in company financial statements, and follow similar international regulations which are aimed at creating fairness in the workplace.

South Africa has often been named as the most ‘unequal country’ in the world, so these changes will likely shine a light on how great the disparity is between a company’s top and bottom earners.

The latest findings from PwC’s 10th edition of the Executive directors: Practices and remuneration trends report, showed that the average CEO of a JSE listed company in the upper levels is R8.75 million. However, this can jump to as high as R25 million among the biggest listed companies.

In comparison, average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector decreased from R20,060 in November 2017 to R19,858 in February 2018 according to Stats SA. Expressed as an annual salary, this equates to R238,300 a year.

Read: Now may be a good time to invest in Naspers: analyst

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Here’s how South African salary increases are set to be hit over the next 12 months