Money and Markets

These are the top-paying second languages in SA – with salaries close to R500,000 a year

Business Insider SA
  • South African English speakers who can also speak German are offered higher salaries than any other second language for which jobs are advertised, a new survey has found. 
  • IsiZulu English speakers, however, showed the sharpest salary increase over the past year. 
  • Meanwhile, the biggest demand exists for English speakers who can also speak Afrikaans – those jobs just don't pay as much.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage. 

South Africans who are able to speak German, French, or Swahili alongside English can expect to earn much more than those who are capable in other second languages, a new survey by online job aggregator Adzuna has found

Adzuna compared 140,000 online job postings to see which second languages are most in demand in South Africa, and what the average expected salary with each additional language can be. 

Jesse Green, Adzuna South Africa’s country manager, said it is common knowledge that multilingualism is an invaluable skill in the workplace. 

“[It] can not only can it help you secure a higher salary, but your bilingual skills can also assist with obtaining a work visa if you’re looking to move abroad,” Green said. 

Also read: South Africa has one of the longest workweeks in the world - here's how we compare

These are the highest paying second languages in South Africa, according to Adzuna:

  1. German: R466,879

  2. French: R446,884

  3. Swahili: R423,166

  4. IsiZulu: R412,969

  5. Portuguese: R403,301

  6. Mandarin: R351,448

  7. Dutch: R304,000

  8. Italian: R235,740

  9. Afrikaans: R205,731

  10. Xhosa: R180,652

Green said the research showed that isiZulu achieved the biggest growth in salary offerings in South Africa the past year, but saw a 59% less demand that three years ago.

Swahili was the second African language to see a considerable increase in the salaries on offer, growing by more than 46% compared to the average salary of R200,000 offered in 2016. 

“With South African opening up more and more trade doors into the greater African continent, it appears as though businesses are preparing for a future that relies more on the incorporation of African clients,” Green said.

Afrikaans was still the most in-demand second language in South Africa, Green said, with over 2,750 vacancies requiring Afrikaans in September, more than any other language.  

“Afrikaans offers more jobs than the other nine languages combined, but even though it is extremely high in demand, it offers some of the lowest average annual salaries,” Green said. 

(Compiled by James de Villiers)

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