Jobs in South Africa that have the best average salaries

The latest data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) shows which workers in the country’s formal, non-agricultural sectors earn the best average wages.

The survey covers eight key industries or sectors in South Africa, further broken down into 20 sub-categories consisting mainly of different manufacturing sectors, as well as a split between the government and the non-governmental communities and social services.

The entire dataset includes income estimates for 90 different types of employment in the formal, non-agricultural sector.

In particular, farm workers, self-employed persons whose businesses are not incorporated, unpaid family members and private domestic workers are excluded from the survey. Employees who work more than one job and thus appear on more than one payroll are counted separately for each appearance.

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According to the data, formal workers earned a total of R787 billion in the three months ended March 2022. on average R26,374 one month per worker, including bonuses and overtime.

Average salary by industry

In the broader sectors, workers in the electricity, gas and water supply industries paid the best, earning an average salary of R47,770 per month. Community workers in the non-government sector followed with R32,220.

Government sector salaries improved to R30,340 during the quarter from R29,620 in the previous quarter.

The sector with the lowest wages was the textile industry, which earned an average salary of R10,450 during the period.

While the electric power and water utilities sector is the top earner overall, within the granular job-specific data, those in the business services sector — particularly jobs related to financial intermediation — are the top earners overall, with an average of R62.630 per month – significantly less than an average of R82,400 in the previous quarter.

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It is followed by electricity, gas and water utilities at R53,420 per month and computer and related activities in the business services sector at R53,420 per month.

At the bottom of the list, sawmill and planing jobs pay the lowest at R8,900 a month, just below workers making clothing at R9,190 a month.

Notably, the workplace with the largest number of employees is in the government sector, with provincial authorities employing over 1.2 million workers. These workers earn an average of R29,000 per month.

The 15 highest paying jobs

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The table below shows the top and lowest paying jobs in the various sectors in South Africa based on the latest earnings data reported by Stats SA. The industry segments are described as follows:

  • Mining includes mining and quarries
  • manufacturing includes food and beverages, furniture, textiles, wood, printing and publishing, petroleum and chemicals, non-metallic and mineral products, electrical, medical and technology-related equipment, and transportation equipment
  • electricity including gas and water supply
  • Act includes wholesale, retail, motor, hotel and restaurants
  • transport includes freight, warehousing and postal communications
  • business services include financial intermediation, banking, insurance and real estate
  • community includes social and personal services, divided into governmental and non-governmental institutions.


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