How much the average employee at SA mobile networks get paid

MTN recently published its annual report, which outlines how the mobile network paid its top executives and its employees in the 2017 financial year.

With executive pay coming under increasing scrutiny, the question of whether a chief executive is paid ‘too much’ needs to be put into context; which can be done by measuring the gap between CEO and the average employee.

Looking at South Africa’s major telco players, it’s clear that MTN CEO Rob Schuter was the best paid telecoms executive in 2017 – and with his salary of R40 million, not only does he have the highest total, but he also carries the highest wage gap among the telcos, currently sitting at 71 times more than the average MTN employee.

This is significantly down – by more than half – of the wage gap seen in 2016, when former lead Phutuma Nhleko earned 150 times more than the average employee with his R72 million remuneration.

However, when looking at CEO pay as a portion of total money spent on salaries, Vodacom’s Shameel Joosub accounted for 0.7% of the total paid.

Telkom carries the smallest wage gap (though arguably still high at 46 times the average salary), as well as the smaller portion of total spent (0.25%).

Because Cell C does not yet report on its finances the way its competitors do, it has been excluded from the data tables below. The figures are from the full year 2017 financial reports for each company (March 2017 for Vodacom and Telkom, December 2017 for MTN).

Average employee salary

Company Employees Total cost Average per employee
Vodacom 7 589 R5.4 billion R715 250
MTN 15 901 R9.0 billion R566 000
Telkom 18 847 R10.7 billion R560 410

The averages are somewhat swayed by the inclusion of the salaries of the executive teams, which can often balloon to well over R100 million at each company.

Excluding executive and prescribed officer salaries changes the totals slightly (R704,500 for Vodacom, R556,000 for MTN and R554,000 for Telkom).

Taking all three companies into account, the average employee salary is R613,000, with the average CEO having a salary 55 times larger at R34 million.

Pay gaps

Company CEO salary CEO salary as % of total Pay gap
MTN R40.5 million 0.5% 71
Vodacom R35.7 million 0.7% 50
Telkom R25.9 million 0.3% 46

Read: MTN CEO scores massive R40 million payday

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How much the average employee at SA mobile networks get paid