Salaries in SA: Joburg vs Cape Town vs Durban

In April, Career Junction data showed that people living in Gauteng can earn up to 30% more than people living in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal for doing the same job.

Career Junction MD Paul Byrne said that eight out of 10 sectors it looked at showed that Gauteng reported better salaries than those from around the rest of the country.

It said that over the 10 sectors it looked at, people in Gauteng were on average, earning 30% more than people in the same job in the Western Cape.

The website said that building and construction was one industry that showed a nominal difference in salary between Gauteng and the Western Cape.

BusinessTech spoke to Quest Staffing Solutions CEO, Kay Vittee, to assess the findings, with the company having compiled a report of its own: Quest Salary Survey and Staffing Trends 2014/15.

“Our research findings indicate that salaries of employees with less than five years’ experience in Gauteng are 7.3% higher than the national average. This is in contrast with salaries in KwaZulu-Natal which are 15.6% lower than the average and Western Cape salaries which are 5% lower,” Vittee said.

Working with the average salaries of those with less than five years’ experience, the chief executive said that employees are paid approximately 12% higher in Gauteng than those in the Western Cape.

The salaries of employees with more than five years’ experience in Gauteng are also 6.4% higher than the national average, while salaries in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape are 21% and 3.4% lower respectively.

“Again, working with these averages, salaries are about 10% higher in Gauteng than in the Western Cape for this category,” Vittee said.

Quest stressed  that its research is based on 38 key white collar job functions employed by the greater majority of companies, as well as a number of additional industry-specific job functions.

In addition, the data used represents actual salaries paid rather than salaries advertised.

Gauteng vs Western Cape

It added that differences vary by job category across the provinces. For instance if one were to take a manager position in the different categories the results are as follows:

  • A finance manager is paid 10% higher in Gauteng than in the Western Cape
  • An HR Manager is paid 25% higher in Gauteng than in the Western Cape
  • A marketing manager is paid 10% higher in Gauteng than in the Western Cape
  • An administrative manager is paid 19% higher in Gauteng than in the Western Cape

When the salaries of the above are aggregated this translates to salaries in Gauteng being 16% higher, Quest said.

“This average, however, is not truly reflective of the difference in salaries of HR managers for instance. Interpreting salary differentials should therefore be done with caution,” Vittee warned.

Where does KZN fit in?

Quest said its survey revealed that salaries of employees with less than five years’ experience in Gauteng are 7.3% higher than the national average. This is in contrast with salaries in KwaZulu-Natal which the survey found are 15.6% lower than the average.

Working with averages, for this category of salaries, employees working in Gauteng and the Western Cape are paid approximately 23% and 10.6% higher than those in KwaZulu-Natal respectively.

This could, however, translate into much wider margins in specific job categories, Quest said.

“This is a big difference and reveals a reappearing trend within the report that, of the three big metros, KwaZulu-Natal is the lowest paying by a wide margin. The salaries in the other eight provinces are relatively competitive,” it said.

According to Statistics South Africa, Gauteng contributes approximately 35% to the economic output of South Africa.

“The province also has the highest concentration of businesses head offices and is the most dominant province in the white collar environment by far. It is therefore not surprising that demand and competition for “top talent” is rife in the region, resulting in higher and more competitive salary negotiations,” Vittee said.

More on salaries in South Africa

South Africa’s best and worst paying jobs

South African salaries in 2015: what people earn

South Africa’s salaries: what people earn

How much is minimum wage in South Africa?

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Salaries in SA: Joburg vs Cape Town vs Durban