South Africa’s take-home pay increased in December 2019 the latest BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI) shows.
The index measures wages that are transferred to employee bank accounts but does not include UIF payments in all cases.
Take-home pay reflected a higher nominal increase of 5.9% on a year-on-year basis and reached R16,502.
In real terms, however, the BTPI increased only by 2.1% year-on-year. This means that the average real-time payment was R14,577 – one of the highest levels ever recorded by BankservAfrica.
While many middle-income South Africans will have hoped to have seen bonuses and increases in-line with or above inflation, polls show that this was likely not the case for much of corporate South Africa.
Data published by recruitment firm Jack Hammer showed that most professionals have taken the realities of the country’s commercial and economic situation on board, with 56% indicating they expected very little in the way of bonuses in 2019, and 33% expecting no salary increase for 2020.
These expectations are the lowest they have been in the past four years, Jack Hammer said.
The group added that expectations have steadily dropped since 2016, when those banking on a bonus in line with or above the previous year stood at 77%.
Also weighing on consumers is the high unemployment rate and the possibility of tax increases in the February budget.
“Apart from reluctant investors we believe load shedding, and the government’s expected cut in spending will put further pressure on economic growth and job creation in South Africa,” said Efficient Group economist Francois Stofberg.
“GDP should only grow around 0.8% and unemployment will most likely increase towards 31%. Debt to GDP is expected to reach 64%.”