This is the average salary in South Africa right now

 ·15 Dec 2022

Stats SA has published its quarterly employment survey (QES) for the third quarter of the year ending September 2022.

According to the data, the average salary in South Africa is now R24,813 a month, up marginally (0.6%) from the previous quarter, where it was R24,668, and up 3.8% from the third quarter of 2021 at R23,908.

Recent data published by The University of Cape Town’s Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing showed that a household needs to earn around R22,000 to be considered middle class in South Africa.

This would mean that the average formally-employed non-agricultural worker in the country would fit into that class category. It also aligns with data from FNB, which paints a broader definition of someone earning between R15,000 and R40,000 a month.

Data from BankservAfrica for October shows that the average take-home pay in South Africa is R15,489 – the highest level since the R15,670 high reached in February 2022.

Total pay

Total gross earnings paid to employees increased by R11.1 billion or 1.4% from R789.4 billion in June 2022 to R800.5 billion in September 2022.

This was largely due to increases in business services, mining, trade, manufacturing and electricity, Stats SA said.

However, there were decreases in transport, construction and community services.

The year-on-year total gross earnings increased by R17.5 billion or 2.2% between September 2021 and September 2022.

Basic salary/wages paid to employees increased by R12.0 billion or 1,7% from R719.2 billion in June 2022 to R731.2 billion in September 2022. The year-on-year basic salary/wages increased by R17.8 billion or 2.5% between September 2021 and September 2022.

The QES data reflects the number of people receiving salaries and does not reflect employment/unemployment trends, which are covered by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).

According to the QES, total employment increased by 10,000 or 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, from 9,974,000 in June 2022 to 9,984,000 in September 2022.

This was largely due to increases in the following industries:

  • Business services (31,000 or 1.3%);
  • Trade (10,000 or 0.5%);
  • Construction (8,000 or 1.5%);
  • Mining (5,000 or 1.0%);
  • Transport (4,000 or 1.0%); and
  • Manufacturing (1,000 or 0.1%).

The electricity industry reported no quarterly change. However, the community services industry reported a quarterly decrease of 49,000 employees or -1.7%, Stats SA said.

Total employment increased by 31,000 or 0.3% year-on-year between September 2021 and September 2022.

Meanwhile, the QLFS shows that the country gained 204,000 between the second and third quarters of 2022, with the total number of persons employed up 1.3% to 15.8 million people.

The official unemployment rate decreased by 1.0 percentage points from 33.9% in the second quarter of 2022 to 32.9% in the third quarter of 2022.

The unemployment rate, according to the expanded definition of unemployment, also decreased by 1.0 percentage points to 43.1%.

Job growth was recorded in Manufacturing (123,000), Trade (82,000), Construction (46,000) and Transport (33,000), which saw the most significant job gains.

Meanwhile, job losses were recorded in Finance (-80,000), Private households (-36,000) and Mining and Agriculture (-1,000) each.

Read: 100,000 jobs in South Africa under threat: minister

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