This is the average salary in South Africa right now

 ·3 Apr 2020

Statistics South Africa has published the Quarterly Employment Statistics for Q4 2019, showing what workers are getting paid across the various sectors in the country.

The data shows that the average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal, non-agricultural sector was up slightly quarter to quarter (0.6%) while showing an annual increase of 4.5%.

The average worker is paid R22,500 per month – up from the R22,375 recorded at the end of Q3, and up from R21,540 recorded in the same period in 2018. This equates to approximately R270,000‬ a year.

Basic salaries paid to employees increased by R9.5 billion (1.4%) from R663.3 billion in September 2019 to R672.7 billion in December 2019.

Bonus and overtime paid to employees increased by R42.8 billion (70.4%) from R60.8 billion in September 2019 to R103.7 billion in December 2019.

Total employment increased by 16,000 or 0.2% quarter-on-quarter, to 10.213 million in December 2019.

However, it should be noted that full-time employment was relatively flat – decreasing by the 2,000 or 0.0% quarter-on-quarter. This means that increase job numbers can be attributed to part-time jobs which increased by 18,000 or 1.7% quarter-on-quarter.

Take-home pay

BankservAfrica’s latest Take Home Pay Index – published at the end of January – shows how much money the average South African takes home after tax.

The group’s data shows that 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.


Despite the increase in pay and take-home pay, the data comes as South Africa sits in its worst unemployment context in almost two decades.

Data from the fourth quarter of 2019 indicates that the official unemployment rate remains unchanged (29.1%) compared to the third quarter of 2019.

According to Stats SA, the number of employed persons increased by 45,000 to 16.4 million and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 8,000 to 6.7 million compared to Q3 2019 – resulting in an increase of 38,000 in the labour force.

The working-age population increased by 145,000 people over the period.

This issue will likely be exacerbated going forward as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of a 21-day lockdown.

Read: The Oppenheimers’ R1 billion fund for businesses will be available this week – here’s how it works

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