How much money the average worker gets paid in South Africa

Statistics South Africa has published its Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for Q2 2021 – showing what workers are getting paid across the various sectors in the country.

The data shows that basic salary/wages paid to employees increased by R7.3 billion (1.1%) from R646.7 billion in March 2021 to R653.9 billion in June 2021.

This was mainly due to increases in the business services, trade, manufacturing, transport, construction and electricity industries. However, a decline was reported in the mining and community services industries.

Year-on-year, basic salary/wages increased by R55.2 billion between June 2020 and June 2021.

Bonus and overtime paid to employees decreased by R7.4 billion (-10.8%) from R68.5 billion in March 2021 to R61.2 billion in June 2021, StatsSA said.

The average salary paid to employees in the formal sector was up marginally by 1.7% quarter on quarter from R23,127 in February 2021 to R23,526 in May 2021. This is 9.7% higher compared to the same period in 2020.

By comparison, the latest salary data from the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index shows that the average salary for employees after-tax is R12,129.

BankservAfrica pointed out that average salaries during the height of the Covid-19 first wave ended up higher than usual.

Lower paid casual workers bore the brunt of the cost-cutting by large companies at that stage, while higher-paid monthly employees did not suffer the same level of reductions.

“So, in that context, the average take-home pay for July 2021 is robust, despite staying on the same level. The number of people receiving a paycheck did not change significantly between June and July either. The monthly equivalent number of payments made declined by less than -0.1% and by R1,092 in value from June 2021,” the group said.

Job losses 

The QES data also shows that jobs in the formal non-agricultural sector decreased by 86,000 in the second quarter of 2021, bringing the total number of persons employed in the formal non-agricultural sector in South Africa to approximately 9.57 million.

This was largely due to decreases in the following industries:

  • Community services (-65,000),
  • Manufacturing (-15,000),
  • Construction (-7,000),
  • Electricity (-1,000)
  • Business services (-1,000).

Full-time employment decreased by 17,000 jobs year-on-year between June 2020 and June 2021. Part-time employment also decreased, with 59,000 fewer jobs quarter-on-quarter, from 1,050,000 in March 2021 to 991,000 in June 2021.


Read: South Africa can’t afford universal grant says business body.

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How much money the average worker gets paid in South Africa