JSE
The CEOs of the ten biggest companies listed on the JSE earned an eyewatering R23.6 million. Photo: Elvira Wood
  • The median salary of a South African CEO reached R5.242 million in the past year, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.
  • The report also found that 86% of CEOs at the 100 biggest companies were white, and that they earn on average 15% more than the median salary of their black, coloured, and Indian counterparts.
  • PwC estimates that total salaries for executives will increase by 5.2% this year.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

The median pre-tax salary of a CEO of a listed company in South African reached R5.242 million in the year to end-February 2020, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

After tax, that’s 66 times more than the lowest paid employees, on the national minimum wage – and that’s before taking into account bonuses and share options. It’s also considerably more than the international “ideal CEO to average worker ratio” of between 20:1 and 25:1.

“Put differently, if the national minimum wage (a monthly salary of R3,633) is indeed the correct minimum wage, then CEO fixed pay for top South African listed companies should be more aligned to a (pre-tax) R1.90–R2.40 million range, which seems, even from a conservative point of view, to be somewhat low,” according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. The company believes a better measure would be to compare executive pay with a “living wage” (pre-tax) monthly salary of R12,000.

“The analysis supports the argument for the living wage, and indicates that at least from a South African perspective, efforts at reducing income disparity within our country may be better directed at increasing the pay of the lowest level workers, rather than seeking to cap executive pay at the top.”

The report shows that the CEOs of the ten biggest companies listed on the JSE earned an eye-watering median salary of R23.6 million, while those running the ten biggest listed companies that operate from South Africa got R11.5 million.

Some of the biggest salaries were among large consumer goods companies, where the CEOs of large companies earned on average R23.27 million in the past year. Last year, Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher received total remuneration of more than R30 million, while Shoprite’s Pieter Engelbrecht earned more than R21 million.

The median salary among mining CEOs was R19.48 million, followed by R16.24 million for telecoms CEOs, and R10.31 million in healthcare.

PwC estimates that total salaries for executives will increase by 5.2% this year.

The report also found that 86% of CEOs at the 100 biggest companies were white, and that they earn on average 15% more than the median salary of their black, coloured, and Indian counterparts.

Source: PwC

There’s an even bigger 26% pay gap among executive directors other than CEO and chief financial officer: the median salary for a white executive director is R4.4 million, compared to R3.3 million for black, coloured, and Indian counterparts.

Source: PwC

The PwC report shows that fewer than 6% of JSE-listed company CEOs were female, and they only represent 14% of those who serve on corporate boards.

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