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Salaries are declining in South Africa, but more people are getting paid, new data shows

Business Insider SA
A  man holds out a bundle of the new South African banknotes, in various denominations, all  featuring the iconic statesman Nelson Mandela. Getty Images
A man holds out a bundle of the new South African banknotes, in various denominations, all featuring the iconic statesman Nelson Mandela. Getty Images
  • The average salary in South Africa has shown the most significant month-to-month fall in March, declining 5.6%.
  • On average South Africans took home R14,969 at the end of March, compared to R15,121 in February, and R15,161 in March last year.
  • Although salaries declined, more people are getting paid, payments clearing house BankServAfrica said.
  • More employers, especially in the tourism and entertainment industries, are rehiring with the end of the national state of disaster.
  • Those workers mostly fall on the lower end of the salary scale.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Although more people are getting paid salaries in South Africa, the country's average take-home pay is declining, the latest data from payments clearing house, BankServAfricaAfrica shows.

The average take-home pay in March fell 5.6% to R14,969 from R15,121 in February and was one of the biggest falls on record. Compared to a year ago, March average pay was also 0,3% down, BankServAfrica said.

The drop in salaries comes at a time when South African consumers are financially stretched and are left to contend with rising food and transport costs, the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, and an overall slow economy.

"The average real salary was R14,969 in March, falling below the R15 000+ mark seen in the previous months," Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica's stakeholder engagements head, said.

Although salaries are dwindling, they hide the fact that more people are receiving salaries than last year, said BankServAfrica.

"In the current economic context, we can deduce that this pattern has emerged from the employment growth within a specific sector or the expanding pool of younger, inexperienced employees in the overall economy," the clearing house said.  

It said the South African economy is seeing casual and weekly workers in mostly the tourism and entertainment industry return to work with the easing of the national state of disaster. It said that most companies are also hiring people who sit at the lower end of the salary scale.

The total number of people paid not only exceeds 2020 numbers, but it is also returning close to levels last seen in 2019, said Mike Schüssler, Chief Economist at economists.co.za. 

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