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Jobs that pay the highest average salaries in South Africa right now

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Employment data from Statistics South Africa reveals those workers in the country’s formal, non-agricultural sectors who earn the best average salaries.

Stats SA’s Quarterly Employment Survey data covers eight key industries or sectors in South Africa, which is split further into 20 sub-categories, mainly made up of various manufacturing sectors, as well as a split between the government and non-government community, and social services.

The whole dataset covers earning estimates across 90 different job types in the formal, non-agricultural sector, indicating which job types or sectors draw the highest monthly earnings.

The QES data is an enterprise-based survey that collects information from non-agricultural businesses and organisations from approximately 20,000 units.

The survey excludes agricultural workers, self-employed workers whose businesses are unincorporated, unpaid family workers, and private household workers among the employed. Employees working at more than one job and thus appearing on more than one payroll are counted separately for each appearance.

According to the data, formal workers earned a total of R799 billion in the three-month period ending March 2022, averaging R26,366 a month per worker.

Average salary by sector

In the broader sectors, those working in the electricity, gas, and water supply industry drew the highest salaries at R46,700 a month, followed by those working in finance at R31,780 a month.

Earnings in the government sector were lower than the previous quarters at R29,619 per month, but this was only slightly below the non-government sector at R30,127.

The lowest earners on average are those who are employed in the manufacturing sector, specifically within textiles, clothing and leather, at R10,479 on average.

While the electricity and water supply sector is the top-earner overall, within the granular job-specific data, those within the business services sector – specifically jobs auxiliary to financial intermediation – are the top earners overall, pulling an average of R82,400 per month.

This is followed by those involved with sea and coastal water transport (R65,160), insurance and pension funding (R54,320), banking and financial intermediation (R52,400) and finally electricity, gas, steam, and water supply (R50,900) rounding out the top five.

At the bottom of the list, footwear manufacturers are the lowest earners on average taking only R8,990 a month. Other manufacturing jobs also have lower earnings, including textiles related to apparel (R9,130), sawmilling and wood planing (R9,300), and those working in knitting and crocheting of fabrics (R9,830).

The table below outlines the highest and lowest-paying jobs in the different sectors in South Africa, based on the most recent earnings data as reported by Stats SA. The industry segments are described as follows:

  • Mining includes mining and quarrying
  • Manufacturing includes food and beverages, furniture, textiles, wood, printing and publishing, petroleum and chemicals, non-metals and mineral products, electrical, medical and technology-related apparatus, and transport equipment
  • Electricity includes gas and water supply
  • Trade includes wholesale, retail, motor, hotel and restaurants
  • Transport includes freight, storage, and postal communication
  • Business services include financial intermediation, banking, insurance and real estate
  • Community includes social and personal services, split among government and non-government entities.


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