Here’s how much money university graduates can expect to earn in South Africa

 ·7 Jun 2020

Data research firm Analytico has published a new report showing the starting salaries for university graduates in South Africa.

Although completing of a degree makes an individual more desirable in the open labour market, the wrong selection of major subjects in university could lead to long periods of unemployment and lower starting salaries, the firm said.

“The aim of this analysis is to assist high school students to make informed economic decisions when selecting what educational field they should pursue

“However, noting that students should also leverage their competency and interest upon selecting a study field,” it said.

The group’s data was based on 25,604 respondents, all of which have graduate degrees. The respondents were from a wide-range of fields including agriculture, finance, Information Technology and law.


The report found that the highest median income was reported by computer science and related fields (R31,290 per month), followed by engineering (R30,550 per month) and health (R25,380 per month).

Graduate students in humanities, religious studies and related fields reported the lowest media income.

Despite having lower median salary (R18,510 per month), the data shows that law graduates can be some of the highest earners with a reported upper-bound of R57,770 per month.

At the other end of the scale, the report found that graduate students in humanities, religious studies and related fields reported are some of the lowest earners at the lower-bound of reporting.

Average take-home pay 

BankservAfrica’s latest take-home Pay Index showed a slight pick-up in April as the majority of employees continued to receive their monthly incomes – however casual and weekly workers were most affected by the Covid-19 lockdown as the number of wages paid declined significantly.

The nominal take-home pay was recorded at R15,701 (up 3.1% year on year), but real take-home pay was R13,895 (down 1.1% year on year). Month on month, nominal and real pay was down 2.8% and 1.0%, respectively.

The small average decline, however, hides the massive underlying change in the make-up of the workforce during April’s Covid-19 nationwide lockdown, said Shergeran Naidoo, head of stakeholder engagements at BankservAfrica.

“The total real take-home payment increased by only 0.7% despite very low inflation. While this was unexpected, it does show how larger employers and government are keeping employees paid with help from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF),” said Mike Schüssler, chief economist at

Read: South Africa faces ‘historic’ Covid-19 economic shock

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