These 11 science, tech and engineering degrees pay the most in South Africa

After analysing over 140,000 online job posts, jobs site Adzuna has revealed the degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) that are bound to bring in the most cash after graduation.

Engineering graduates now earn more than any other STEM grads, the report found.

Adzuna’s research, which was conducted in August 2018, compared the average salaries of jobs that require applicants to have specific STEM degrees. Coming in at the top of the results, chemical engineers earned average salaries of R603,999 if they held bachelors or master’s degrees in the subject.

Graduates with civil engineering and computer science degrees came in at second and third place, earning average salaries of R577,579 and R546,259 respectively.

Graduates that have degrees in mathematics and life sciences are offered average take home pays of R389,887 and R313,400, with degrees in life science valued below the SA average salary of R356,735 per year.

Highest paying STEM degrees

Degree Average Salary Jobs Available
Chemical Engineering R603 999 250
Civil Engineering R577 579 1 193
Computer Science R546 259 4 303
Information Technology R521 206 13 743
Aeronautical Engineering R515 776 6
Pharmacy R507 978 642
Mechanical Engineering R507 619 1 522
Electrical Engineering R505 425 1 375
Statistics R448 891 1 571
Mathematics R389 887 1 508
Life Science R313 400 45

Although graduates with aeronautical engineering and chemical engineering degrees have high earning potential, they are definitely not the most in demand, according to Adzuna.

Due to their nature, only 256 job ads across South Africa mention either of these subjects as a requirement to apply for the role.

“Graduates looking to land high-paying jobs that also offer a variety of career opportunities, a degree in computer science is probably your best bet, the jobs specialist said.

As AI rises in business and society, the demand for employees with tech skills and knowledge continues to sky rocket. Job seekers with an Information Technology (IT) degree were the most in demand with a whopping 13,743 job vacancies, followed by computer science, with 4,303 vacancies on offer.

Although engineering and technology degrees seem, appealing due to their promises of higher salaries, degrees in math and science shouldn’t be undervalued.

“Degrees in statistics made the top five for both salary and potential number of jobs available, which makes it a good all round choice, said Adzuna.

“If you’re an undergrad and still uncertain about your future in STEM, a mathematics degree is also a great option, as it provides a gateway to a variety of industries like finance, engineering and data science.”


Read: Here are 10 high paying jobs in South Africa with the least competition

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These 11 science, tech and engineering degrees pay the most in South Africa