While take-home salaries increased by 5.9% year-on-year in April, the number continues to slide in 2015, according to the BankservAfrica Disposable Salary Index (BDSI).
The April disposable salary in SA declined from R11,738 in March to R11,719, and down from R12,074 in May last year.
In real terms, after taking inflation into account, the increase is 1.4% in April, which still makes it the eighth month in a row that disposable salaries beat inflation, BankservAfrica said.
Real salary numbers continued to decline in 2015, to R10,271 in April, from R10,378 in March, and R11,036 in May 2014.
The number of people in the lowest income category in the BDSI – those earning less than R4,000 per month – declined by 2.6%. “This could partly be due to fewer garnishee orders in operation: civil debt judgements declined by 8.4% in the last quarter, and are about half the number they were in 2010,” BankservAfrica said.
Less than 42% of disposable salary payments were over R10,000, which is the lowest share since June 2014, it noted.
However, this is still higher than the 39.2% of March 2014. The number of employees earning between R4,000 and R10,000 also declined, but by only 2% compared to a year ago.
The highest growth was again found in the highest category – those earning between R50,000 and R100,000 – which saw an increase of 21.1% albeit from a low total number of payments: 49,000 out of 3.185 million or 1.3% of the total.
In the last year the number of accounts in the highest category grew by 21%, despite effectively higher tax rates on this group.
“This shows that this bracket of earners – as well as those earning over R25 000 where we are seeing increases in numbers of over 15% – is probably still best able to fight off tax increases with even higher salary increases,” BankservAfrica said.
The number of high salary earners is growing rapidly and the number of people at the bottom is declining; although the median disposable salary was under R9,000 for April 2015.
The median salary was R8,608 which is 6.7% higher than April 2014, although this has fallen by 3.5% from the median R8,914 in January 2015, due to the delayed implementation of the government wage agreement and higher taxes, the automated clearing house said.
“New wage settlements and the implementation of other CPI plus agreements will help lift the rate of consumer spend towards the middle of the year. In the meantime consumer spending will slow but should still be positive,” BankservAfrica said.