How much money you can expect to earn in finance and banking roles in South Africa

Specialist recruitment firm Robert Walters has published its annual salary survey for 2021, showing what professionals in the finance, banking, and accounting industry can expect to earn.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a massive impact on the financial sector in South Africa, which, like many others, came under severe strain as employers halted hiring processes and even had to cut or furlough staff.

Jason Grundy, managing director of Robert Walters for the Middle East & Africa, said that professionals looking to increase their earnings most likely would need to seek new opportunities, however, new starters should still expect conservative salary increases when moving roles.

“In addition, we expect reduced bonuses in line with company performance and their need to maintain a strong cash position.

“We foresee organisations taking a flexible approach to benefits packages as a way of retaining top talent. These benefits would likely include measures to support the new operating model, such as work from home.”


Robert Walters splits its salary review into two specific finance-related sectors: Accounting and Finance, and Banking and Financial Services.

Salaries across both groups are quite similar, though the averages in the Accounting and Finance segment are higher.

Starting salaries in both the Accounting and Finance and Banking and Financial Services sectors range between R180,000 and R600,000 a year – for BCom graduates and financial managers/private equity professionals, respectively.

However, the top range is higher in Accounting and Finance – between R900,000 and R4 million – compared to Banking and Financial Services, where the range is R850,000 to R3.5 million.

Accounting and Finance

60% of businesses in this segment say they are giving pay increases to employees in 2021.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, professionals have bunkered down, with only 16% indicating they will be looking for a new job this year, with job security a high priority.

Confidence is still relatively low in the sector, with only 27% of employees feeling optimistic about opportunities in the industry in 2021.

Employees say they want flexible hours, remote working and a tech-first approach to work. Employers, meanwhile, are seeking skills in financial analysis, corporate finance specialists and internal auditors.

Banking and Financial Services

Closely aligned to the accounting segment, banking and financial services companies are also willing to pay more for needed skills, with 66% of employers indicating they will be giving pay increases this year.

Employees are also sticking to their jobs, with only 17% looking for a new job this year, while the same levels of confidence (27%) exists around opportunities in the sector.

The same needs are present: flexible hours, remote working and more opportunity to leverage technology. The most in-demand skills here are financial business partners, financial reporting accountants and financial managers.

Read: South Africa unemployment hits highest point on record

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How much money you can expect to earn in finance and banking roles in South Africa