Matric vs diploma vs degree – how much you’re likely to get paid in South Africa

Jobs website Giraffe has published a report focusing on salaries in South Africa, including how your level of education influences what you are likely to get paid.

The report is based on more than 131,000 Giraffe job applicants who registered since June 2018, with 64% of the applicants being female and 36% male.

The applicants were typically between 18 to 35-year-olds (87%), while a combined 21% said that they had a diploma or university degree.

Education level

Giraffe’s data shows that education is a major influencer of likely salary growth, with a wide gap growing between employees with a degree/diploma versus those without.

“In all instances, employees with degrees or diplomas earn more than employees without degrees or diplomas.

“In fact, employees with tertiary qualifications (NQF Level 6 or 7 equivalent) will earn on average 72% more than colleagues without these qualifications,” it said.

The below graph shows salary by industry, with and without tertiary education (ZARk/month)

The report shows that senior employees (age 36+) with a degree/diploma in IT and tech, construction, legal and HR are typically the best paid in the country.

For those without a degree/diploma, the  IT and technology, banking, accounting and finance sectors offer the best salaries.

However, the data shows that a  diploma/degree only makes a difference in certain jobs. There is only 18% difference in salary between call centre agents with degree/diploma and without tertiary qualifications.

“This shows that these roles are highly accessible to employees without tertiary qualifications, and still pay above living wage,” Giraffe said.

Industries with the highest differences in salary between degreed vs non-degreed employees are:

  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain (95%);
  • HR and Legal (94%);
  • Government or Non-Profit (90%);
  • Education (89%)

Industries with the highest growth trajectory for both individuals with and without degrees are:

  • IT/ Tech/ Telecoms;
  • HR and Legal;
  • Advertising & marketing;
  • Government / non-profit.

Read: Here’s how much the average South African owes on their car, house and store accounts

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Matric vs diploma vs degree – how much you’re likely to get paid in South Africa