Jobs that pay the highest average salaries in South Africa

 ·20 Dec 2022

Employment data from Statistics South Africa reveals which workers in the country’s formal, non-agricultural sectors earn the highest average salaries.

Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment Survey data covers eight key industries or sectors in South Africa, which is split further into 20 sub-categories, mainly made up of various manufacturing sectors, as well as a split between the government and non-government community, and social services.

The whole dataset covers earning estimates across 90 different job types in the formal, non-agricultural sector, giving an indication of which job types or sectors draw the highest monthly earnings.

The QES data is an enterprise-based survey that collects information from non-agricultural businesses and organisations from approximately 20,000 units.

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.

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.

The survey excludes agricultural workers, self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated, unpaid family workers, and private household workers among the employed. Employees working at more than one job and thus appearing on more than one payroll are counted separately for each appearance.

Top-paying sectors

According to Stats SA’s data, those working in the electricity, gas and water supply sector earn the highest average monthly salary in the country, coming in at just under R50,000 a month.

This is followed by those working in the non-government community sector at R31,750 a month. This sector includes healthcare workers. Following not too far behind is the mining and quarrying sector and government workers.

The sector that earns the least is the textile manufacturing sector, where the average monthly salary is just under R10,800 a month.

Other low-earning sectors are the furniture manufacturers and well as the wood and wood products sector.

Job types

Looking at more granular job data, Stats SA’s estimates point to workers involved in financial intermediation as the top earners in the country, with an average monthly salary of R66,750. This is followed by manufacturers in the coke oven and petroleum refining sector.

Electricity and gas supply are also highly ranked here, as well as those doing work related to computers and technology.

On the opposite end of the earning spectrum, workers in the textile manufacturing industry are the lowest-paid, earning just over R9,200 a month. This is below sawmill workers (R9,550) and other fabric workers.

The table below outlines the highest and lowest-paying job sectors in South Africa, based on the most recent earnings data as reported by Stats SA. The industry segments are described as follows:

  • Mining includes mining and quarrying
  • Manufacturing includes food and beverages, furniture, textiles, wood, printing and publishing, petroleum and chemicals, non-metals and mineral products, electrical, medical and technology-related apparatus, and transport equipment
  • Electricity includes gas and water supply
  • Trade includes wholesale, retail, motor, hotel and restaurants
  • Transport includes freight, storage and postal communication
  • Business services include financial intermediation, banking, insurance and real estate
  • Community includes social and personal services, split among government and non-government entities.

Read: This is the average salary in South Africa right now

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