• A degree is often to a prerequisite for a high salary, but that's not always the case.
  • Those without degrees can earn up to R1.2 million a year in fields such as sales.
  • But on average, South Africans with degrees tend to earn 330% more than those who don't have a tertiary education. 

University degrees are not always a prerequisite, but certainly help potential employees earn higher salaries, Lars Fischer, Michael Page South Africa Operations Director, says. 

And while graduates tend to earn more than their peers, Fischer said employees without degrees can still earn up to R1.2 million per year in the right jobs.

Statistics South Africa in 2017 estimated that South Africans with a bachelor’s degree earn 330% more than those without any tertiary education.

See also: These are South Africa’s 10 best-paying jobs right now – with salaries over R6 million a year

The typical salary for employees with grade 12 is R59,724 per annum versus R160,536 for employees with a diploma, and R258,324 for employees with a degree. 

Michael Page’ Fischer gave Business Insider South Africa a list of the five top-earning careers in the country where you don’t need a degree.  

Human Resources: between R400,000 and R500,000 a year 

Experience is typically more valuable when selecting talent for human resources roles, Fischer said.

Candidates must have a basic understanding of their function, have an insight into the organisation structure and its product or services. 

“Widely recognised qualifications like CIPD [Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development] backed by solid work experience will help make an HR candidate stand out.” 


Recruitment: between R450,000 and R700,000 a year

Being professionally savvy is what can help a candidate thrive successfully as a recruitment consultant, Fischer said.

“Recruitment firms [typically] attract talent who have great interpersonal and communication skills with a focus on achieving goals.” 


Technology: between R300,000 and R1.2 million a year 

A candidate doesn’t necessarily need degrees to develop a great app or programme, but they will need a technical foundation in the form of a diploma, industry certification and on the job training, Fischer said.

“Again, this is an industry where experience counts for more.”


Business-to-consumer sales: between R500,000 and R900,000 a year

Entry level sales jobs do not necessarily require a university degree, Fischer said.

“Employers often look for candidates that have attended in-house training, seminars and/or having a coach/mentor with a good track record in sales from the sector.”

He said employers typically value a demonstrated interest in sales coupled with the right work ethic and attitude. 


Digital marketing: between R400,000 and R700,000 a year

Many digital candidates do various courses online within their field which include training around SEO and GoogleAdWords, Fischer said. 

See also: Joburg no longer pays top salaries – or has the most jobs

For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.

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