Categories: Career AdviceNews

South Africa’s Top Job Sectors: Unveiling the High-Paying Industries

Published by
William Dube
  1. The latest Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) data from Statistics South Africa offers insights into the highest-paying job sectors in the country’s formal, non-agricultural industries.
  2. The highest earners in South Africa are found in the electricity, water, and gas supply sector, with an average salary of R60,134 per month, followed by government employees and those in the community and social services industry.
  3. The business services sector holds three of the top five spots in terms of high-paying jobs, with employees in computer and related activities and insurance and pension funding sectors earning approximately R50,000 per month.

The recently released employment data from Statistics South Africa provides an insightful look into the highest-paying job sectors in the country’s formal, non-agricultural industries. This detailed analysis is based on Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) data, which encompasses eight primary industries or sectors, further divided into 20 sub-categories. The dataset gives an extensive overview of the earnings for 90 different job types in the formal, non-agricultural sector, highlighting the top earners in various sectors.

According to the QES for the final quarter of 2022, the total gross earnings paid to employees witnessed a significant increase of R67.8 billion (8.5%), growing from R798.7 billion in September 2022 to R866.6 billion in December 2022. This surge is primarily attributed to growth in the community services, trade, manufacturing, business services, construction, transport, electricity, and mining industries. Comparing year-on-year data, total gross earnings rose by R39.2 billion (4.7%) between December 2021 and December 2022.

Basic salary/wages paid to employees showed an increase of R22.8 billion (3.1%) from R729.3 billion in September 2022 to R752.1 billion in December 2022. In the year-on-year comparison, basic salary/wages saw an increase of R31.9 billion (4.4%) between December 2021 and December 2022.

The data reveals that the current average salary in South Africa is R26,032 per month, marking a 4.5% increase from the previous quarter (R24,813) and a 9.2% rise from the fourth quarter of 2021 (R23,828).

Leading Industries in Terms of Pay

A comprehensive examination of the South African job market indicates that the highest earners are employed in the electricity, water, and gas supply sector, with an impressive average salary of R60,134 per month. Government employees come in second with an average salary of R34,341, only slightly ahead of the community and social services industry. Telecommunications manufacturers are next in line, also earning over R34,000 per month. The top five is completed by the non-government community and social services sector.

In contrast, the lowest-paid industries are textile manufacturing and furniture manufacturing, with average pay rates of R12,657 and R17,370, respectively.

A Closer Look at Sector-Specific Data

A more in-depth analysis of the data – focusing on specific sectors within each industry – reveals some interesting insights. While electricity industry workers earn higher average salaries, employees engaged in activities auxiliary to financial intermediation are the highest paid overall, with an average monthly income of R69,617. They are followed by electricity workers who earn an average of R66,587 per month.

The business services sector dominates the top five with three spots, as employees in computer and related activities and insurance and pension funding sectors earn approximately R50,000 per month.

On the other end of the pay scale, textile manufacturing workers – particularly those in apparel – and individuals involved in sawmilling and wood planing are the lowest earners, with average monthly salaries around R11,000.

Table 1: Top-Paying Industries in South Africa

Industry/SectorAverage Salary (R)
Electricity, Water, and Gas Supply60,134
Government34,341
Community and Social Services34,000+
Telecommunications Manufacturing34,000+
Non-Government Community and Social Services34,000+

Table 2: Lowest-Paying Industries in South Africa

Industry/SectorAverage Salary (R)
Textile Manufacturing12,657
Furniture Manufacturing17,370

Table 3: Highest-Paying Sectors within Industries

SectorAverage Salary (R)
Activities Auxiliary to Financial Intermediation69,617
Electricity Industry Workers66,587
Computer and Related Activities50,000
Insurance and Pension Funding50,000

Table 4: Lowest-Paying Sectors within Industries

SectorAverage Salary (R)
Apparel (Textile Manufacturing)11,000
Sawmilling and Wood Planing11,000

Context

The findings of this article are significant to the lives of South Africans as they provide valuable insights into the job sectors with the highest average salaries, which can impact career choices and overall financial well-being. Understanding the industries and sectors that offer higher pay can help individuals make informed decisions about their education, skills development, and long-term career goals. Additionally, the data can serve as a benchmark for businesses and government agencies when evaluating salary structures and industry growth. In turn, this information can contribute to the development of policies and strategies aimed at promoting economic growth, reducing income inequality, and fostering a sustainable job market in South Africa.

William Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on william@rateweb.co.za