How much you should be earning in your 20s in South Africa

Salary research group, PayScale, has updated its salary data for South Africa for 2019, showing what young South Africans can expect to earn within their first nine years of work.

It is important to note that PayScale’s salary data is determined by years of experience, and not by age specifically. However, it can be assumed that experience and age are closely aligned if most employees leave university at age 21.

The salary data below also carries some caveats – primarily that it is an overall picture of median salaries, captured across all industries, for people who hold a bachelor’s degree.

Different career paths also “peak” at different times: economists at PayScale note that any career where the majority of training happens in school or within the first few years of work, will likely not see much pay growth after that.

According to PayScale’s data for 2018, this is what South Africans in their 20s can expect to be paid (per annum) in their first nine or so years of work:

  • Less than 1 year experience: R144,000
  • 1 to 4 years experience: R210,000
  • 5 to 9 years experience: R315,600

Looking at specific degree types, experience pays off for those in the sciences and engineering fields, while the arts tracks behind.

The table below outlines how the median salaries across four major degree types differ:

Payscale’s salary data is based on reported information by over 270,000 South African employees with up to nine years working experience, updated as of February 2019. Figures represent the median salary.


Read: The cars you can afford to buy with your salary in South Africa

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How much you should be earning in your 20s in South Africa