Michael Page has published the 2020 South Africa Salary & Skills Guide. The salary benchmark is derived from our proprietary database capturing job advertisements and placements throughout 2019.

The last year has proven to be challenging for the professional labour market within South Africa, due to various economic and political reasons. The year started cautiously, with the General Elections held 8th May, and investors adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach. This has, however, continued with policy uncertainty such as expropriation of land without compensation, underlined by the highest unemployment rate since comparable data was recorded in 2008, peaking at 29.1% in Q3.

Overall, we have seen a decline in demand across most industries within South Africa, with certain industries feeling the impact more than others. Companies are looking for ways to increase output and productivity, while at the same time cutting costs.

Paul Newman, Associate Director PageGroup, South Africa.
Paul Newman, Associate Director
PageGroup, South Africa.

“Therefore, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, digital and in broader terms, technology is playing a bigger role in achieving the above-mentioned goals. We have also seen an increased need for strong commercial leaders with the capabilities to steer businesses through these challenging economic times, focusing on guiding and leading the workforce, and increasing the bottom line,” said Paul Newman, Associate Director
PageGroup, South Africa.

“South Africa is also facing a brain drain of highly skilled labour who are opting to emigrate; this is creating a talent gap in the market, further contributing to the challenges of investing in the economy.”

For South Africans, 2019 will also be fondly remembered as the year the Springboks won the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe.

“There is a renewed sense of hope and achievement spreading across the country. South Africans are resilient and have overcome many challenges in the past,” said Newman.

“There are some real success stories to celebrate all over the country, from innovative start-ups showing phenomenal growth and a fresh new approach to doing business in Africa, to larger multi-nationals with world-renowned structures and processes continuing to be pillars of the economy.”

The tables below outline the salary ranges and averages for South African professionals across all sectors.

The averages represent annual salaries, in thousands of rands (R’000).


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