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South Africans are feeling the pinch as inflation outstrips wage increases

CareerJunction, one of South Africa's top job boards, has just released its 2018 Salary Review, which explores average salary offerings across South Africa's top 10 sectors. According to the CareerJunction Salary Review, salaries only grew by a sluggish 3% year-on-year, in line with the predicted wage increases for 2018 by American company PayScale in their 2018 Compensation Best Practices Report*. This is more than 2 percentage points behind the annual inflation rate for October 2018 of 5,1% (StatsSA).

While South Africa has seen a rise in the cost of many basic consumer products and services over the last year, salary increases seem to be falling behind, forcing South Africans to dig deeper into their pockets. 

The slow rate at which wages are increasing is putting a lot of pressure on household spending. Food prices alone have increased on average by 7.1% per annum while electricity and fuels have increased by a staggering 13.8% per annum over the past nine years.**

Here is a look into some of the report’s findings:

Wage increases by sector

South Africans are feeling the pinch as inflation outstrips wage increases

Annual growth and wage pressure is varied across different industries.

Of the top 10 sectors analysed, the IT sector fell to the bottom of the list for annual wage increases. Despite being the most sought-after skills set on CareerJunction, the sector experienced negative growth in wages of -3% year-on-year. The finance and construction sectors saw a minimal growth in wages of only 1% while the warehousing & logistics sector saw a wage increase of 4%.

According to the CareerJunction Index, these 4 sectors alone make up over 50% of employment through the website.

The engineering, admin, sales, manufacturing and medical sectors saw moderate wage increases during 2018 while the marketing sector experienced a staggering increase in salary offerings of 20%.

Wage increases by occupation

These occupations experienced the biggest decreases in wages year-on-year:

South Africans are feeling the pinch as inflation outstrips wage increases

These occupations experienced the biggest increases in wages year-on-year:

South Africans are feeling the pinch as inflation outstrips wage increases

Highest earning professions

The finance, engineering and IT sectors dominate the South African job market where earning potential is concerned. Highest earning professionals include engineers (industrial, civil, structural, electrical and electronic engineers), accountants, financial analysts, asset managers, corporate lenders, business architects, IT project administrators, business analysts as well as data analysts.

Lowest earning professions

Lowest earning professionals include those in switchboard & reception, dispatch & receiving, admin, telesales, debt collection, insurance broker and artisanal roles.

Regional differences

The review also focuses on regional pay gaps for top sectors across Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. As can be expected, earning potential remains higher in Gauteng compared to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Findings reveal the average salary gaps between provinces:

Gauteng:                     6% above the national average
Western Cape:             3% below the national average
KwaZulu-Natal:            16% below the national average

To view the full salary report including regional salary differences per sector, visit:

* 2018 Compensation Best Practices Report
** June’18 PwC quarterly HR Report

30 Nov 2018 10:38


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