Career and job information platform, PayScale has compiled a list of bachelor degrees which have the highest earning potential, showing that STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees will get you onto the high-earners list.
PayScale’s data shows that engineering comes out on top, with early career salaries paying out between $60,000 and $94,000 per year – shooting up to as much as $175,000 as you gain more experience.
Salaries for those who graduate with a mathematics degree can go as high as $131,700 per year based on experience, and for science degrees, as high as $122,000.
PayScale’s top 10 Bachelor’s degrees, based on earning potential
- Petroleum Engineering
- Actuarial Mathematics
- Actuarial Science
- Nuclear Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Marine Engineering
- Economics and Mathematics
- Cognitive Science
- Electrical Power Engineering
PayScale’s ranking is more directly tied to US-based jobs, but South African salary data reflects the similar trends.
For example, PayScale’s salary data for median salaries across South Africa’s three major metros (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban) shows that engineering degrees are second only to MBAs in potential earning power.
The table below outlines the median salaries of the degrees with the highest earning potential in South Africa.
The PayScale data is also backed up by the recent CareerJunction Salary survey, which also showed engineering (and high level finance) jobs as some of the highest-paying in the country. Numbers have been rounded.
|Master of Business Administration (MBA)||R741 720|
|Master of Engineering (MEng)||R528 530|
|Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)||R500 000|
|Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)||R418 400|
|Master of Commerce (MCom)||R399 900|
|Master of Science (MSc)||R379 180|
|Bachelor of Accounting (BAcc)||R372 340|
|Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering (BSME)||R371 350|
|Bachelor of Science, Computer Science (BSc CS)||R369 000|
|Bachelor of Science (BSc)||R318 280|
The table below highlights 10 of the highest paying jobs in South Africa according to CareerJunction’s latest salary review, as well as the field it falls under.
|Job||Average monthly salary||Average annual salary|
|Environmental engineer||Engineering||R911 290|
|Civil engineer||Engineering||R897 350|
|Structural engineer||Engineering||R856 520|
|IT management||ICT||R819 370|
|Financial management||Finance||R811 840|
|Plant manager||Manufacturing||R746 260|
|Chartered accountant||Finance||R729 540|
|Quantity surveying||Construction||R722 720|
|Electrical engineer||Engineering||R717 500|
|Technical and business architect||Finance||R707 770|