Jobs in South Africa that have the best average salaries

 ·27 Sep 2022

The latest data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) shows which workers in the country’s formal, non-agricultural sectors earn the best average salaries.

The survey covers eight key industries or sectors in South Africa, which is split further into 20 sub-categories, mainly made up of various manufacturing sectors, as well as a split between the government and non-government community and social services.

The whole dataset covers earning estimates across 90 different job types in the formal, non-agricultural sector.

The survey specifically excludes agricultural workers, self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated, unpaid family workers, and private household workers among the employed. Employees working at more than one job and thus appearing on more than one payroll are counted separately for each appearance.

According to the data, formal workers earned a total of R787 billion in the three-month period ending March 2022, averaging R26,374 a month per worker, including bonuses and overtime.

Average salary by sector

In the broader sectors, workers in the electricity, gas and water supply industry were the highest earners, drawing an average salary of R47,770 per month. This was followed by community workers in the non-government sector, with R32,220.

Salaries in the government sector improved over the quarter to R30,340, up from R29,620 in the previous quarter.

The lowest-paying sector was the textile manufacturing industry, which pulled an average salary of R10,450 over the period.

While the electricity and water supply sector is the top earner overall, within the granular job-specific data, those within the business services sector – specifically jobs auxiliary to financial intermediation – are the top earners overall, pulling an average of R62,630 per month – down significantly from an average of R82,400 in the previous quarter.

This is followed by electricity, gas and water supply at R53,420 per month, and computer and related activities in the business services sector at R53,420 per month.

At the bottom of the list, sawmill and planing of wood jobs pay the lowest at R8,900 per month, just below workers manufacturing apparel, at R9,190 per month.

Notably, the job with the most employees is in the government sector, with provincial departments employing over 1.2 million workers. These workers earn an average of R29,000 per month.

Top 15 highest paying jobs

The table below outlines the highest and lowest-paying jobs in the different sectors in South Africa, based on the most recent earnings data as reported by Stats SA. The industry segments are described as follows:

  • Mining includes mining and quarrying
  • Manufacturing includes food and beverages, furniture, textiles, wood, printing and publishing, petroleum and chemicals, non-metals and mineral products, electrical, medical and technology-related apparatus, and transport equipment
  • Electricity includes gas and water supply
  • Trade includes wholesale, retail, motor, hotel and restaurants
  • Transport includes freight, storage, and postal communication
  • Business services include financial intermediation, banking, insurance and real estate
  • Community includes social and personal services, split among government and non-government entities.

Read: This is the average salary in South Africa right now

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