Statistics South Africa has published the latest Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for Q1 2022 showing what workers are getting paid across the various sectors in the country.
The data shows the average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector decreased by 1.4% from R23,828 in November 2021 to R23,502 in February 2022.
Total gross earnings paid to employees decreased by R28.2 billion or -3,4% from R827.3 billion in December 2021 to R799.1 billion in March 2022. This was largely due to decreases in the community services, manufacturing, transport, trade, construction and electricity sectors.
Basic salary/wages paid to employees also decreased by R4.5 billion or -0,6% from R720.2 billion in December 2021 to R715.7 billion in March 2022. Overtime paid to employees decreased by R2 billion or -8,9% from R22.4 billion in December 2021 to R20.4 billion in March 2022
By comparison, the latest salary data from the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index shows that the average salary paid to employees in March, after tax, is R14,969.
While this is lower than in previous months, the drop can be partly to the fact that more people are receiving salaries than last year.
The annual growth in the monthly estimate of employment numbers indicates the return of casual and weekly workers, and that most of the vulnerable sectors in the Covid-19 pandemic, such as tourism and entertainment, are making a comeback. More firms are hiring people at the lower end of the salary scale for new employment opportunities.
The thinking behind this stems from the odd movement between the increasing number of monthly paid employees despite the significant average take-home pay declines.
In the current economic context, we can deduce that this pattern has emerged from the employment growth within a specific sector or the expanding pool of younger, inexperienced employees in the overall economy, said BankservAfrica.
The QES data reflects the number of people receiving salaries, and does not reflect employment/unemployment trends, which is covered by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey.
The latest QLFS survey shows that the official unemployment rate was 34.5% in the first quarter of 2022, from 35.3% in the prior reporting period, recovering 0.8 of a percentage point.
The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition of unemployment also decreased by 0.7 of a percentage point to 45.5 % in Q1:2022 compared to Q4:2021, StatsSA said.
The biggest job gains were recorded in community and social Services (281,000), manufacturing (263,000) and trade (98,000). However, there were job losses in private households (186,000), finance (72,000), construction (60,000) and agriculture (23,000).