This is the average salary in South Africa right now

 ·31 Mar 2022
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Statistics South Africa has published its Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for Q4 2021, 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 increased by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter.

The average worker gets paid R23,982 per month (up slightly from R23,908 recorded in Q3 2021), up from R23,084 in the same period in 2020. This equates to approximately R287,784 per year.

Year-on-year, basic salary/wages increased by R46.4 billion or (6.9%) between December 2020 and December 2021.

Bonus paid to employees increased by R36.9 billion or (75.5%) from R48.8 billion in September 2021 to R85.7 billion in December 2021. This was largely due to increases in the community services, manufacturing, trade, business services, transport, construction and electricity industries.

The below table provides a more detailed breakdown of average wage by sector.

The QES shows that total employment increased by 62,000 or (0.6%) quarter-on-quarter, from 9,953,000 in September 2021 to 10,015,000 in December 2021.

This was largely due to increases in the trade (+48,000), community services (+45,000) and manufacturing (+1,000) industries.

However, decreases were reported in the construction (-20,000), transport (-5,000), business services (-5,000), and mining (-1,000) industries.

Notably, these figures don’t reflect unemployment but rather show how many people did not receive salaries.

There are two official sources of employment statistics, the QES – which is establishment based – and the QLFS – which is household-based. Each survey has its strengths and limitations.

For example, the QES cannot provide information on the following:

  • Description of the employed e.g. their demographic profile, education level, hours of work etc.; and
  • Unemployment and descriptors of the unemployed.

The latest unemployment numbers for the fourth quarter of 2021, showing that South Africa’s unemployment rate has now hit 35.3%. This is the highest point since the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) was started, the statistics body said in a statement on Tuesday (29 March).

Over the period, South Africa’s working-age population increased by 140,000 people, while approximately 400,000 previously not economically people re-entered the workforce.

Of these, 260,000 people found employment, while 280,000 remained unemployed. The specific data points are:

  • The 15 to 64 population group increased by 143,000 to 39.9 million;
  • The number of the not economically active population decreased by 397,000 to 17.4 million;
  • The number of unemployed persons increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million in Q4 2021;
  • The number of employed persons increased by 262,000 to 14.5 million.

Read: South Africa is heading towards a 50% unemployment rate: unions

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