Government releases average salary details for everyone working in South Africa

Government releases average salary details for everyone working in South Africa

Statistics South Africa has released its Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for the fourth quarter of 2021, showing what people who work in South Africa are being paid in different sectors across the country.

The data shows that the average monthly earnings paid to non-agricultural formal sector employees increased by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter.

The average worker is paid R23,982 per month (up slightly from the 23,908 rand recorded in the third quarter of 2021), compared to 23,084 rand in the same period of 2020. This equates to around 287,784 rand per year.

Year-on-year, base salary increased by R46.4 billion or (6.9%) between December 2020 and December 2021.

Bonuses paid to employees increased by R36.9 billion or (75.5%) from R48.8 billion in September 2021 to R85.7 billion in December 2021. This was largely due to increased community services, manufacturing, trade, business services, transportation, construction and electrical industries.

The table below provides a more detailed breakdown of the average salary by sector.

The QES shows that total employment increased by 62,000 or (0.6%) quarter-on-quarter, from 9,953,000 in September 2021 to 10,015,000 in December 2021.

This was largely due to increases in trade (+48,000), community services (+45,000) and manufacturing (+1,000).

However, declines were reported in the construction (-20,000), transportation (-5,000), business services (-5,000) and mining (-1,000) industries.

Notably, these figures do not reflect unemployment but rather show how many people have not received a salary.

There are two official sources of employment statistics, the QES – which is establishment-based – and the QLFS – which is household-based. Each survey has its strengths and limitations.

For example, the SQE cannot provide information on the following:

  • Description of the people employed, e.g. their demographic profile, level of education, working hours, etc. ; and
  • Unemployment and descriptors of the unemployed.

The latest unemployment figures for the fourth quarter of 2021, showing South Africa’s unemployment rate has now reached 35.3%. This is the highest point since the launch of the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (EQFT), the statistical body said in a statement on Tuesday March 29.

During the period, South Africa’s working-age population grew by 140,000, while around 400,000 previously uneconomic people re-entered the workforce.

Of these, 260,000 people found employment, while 280,000 remained unemployed. The specific data points are:

  • The 15-64 year old population group increased from 143,000 to 39.9 million;
  • The number of the economically inactive population fell from 397,000 to 17.4 million;
  • The number of unemployed increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million in Q4 2021;
  • The number of employed persons rose by 262,000 to 14.5 million.

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