Top Salaries and benefits – South Africa (expenditures)

Estimated data from Stats SA – This is the average salary in South Africa right now. Stats SA has published its latest quarterly employment data for the third quarter of 2018 ending September. According to its report, employment in South Africa decreased by 16,000 quarter-on-quarter, from 9.75 million in June 2018, to 9.73 million in September.  Salaries of MP’s, state departments, officials,  traditional leaders, provinces or municipal workers are not included in this estimated data.

Other information available:

Ten Top highest paid CEO’s in  South Africa.

Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs In South Africa


Meet the South African bosses who earn almost R190,000 a day! 

South Africa’s retail banking chief executive officers are among the highest paid people in the country, as they continue to balance prudent fiscal management with turning a profit in a difficult micro- and macro-economic environment.   Looking at the financial data for the last financial years (all published in 2018), the average pay for the top retail banking executives came to almost R47 million, including all bonuses and benefits.   This means that a chief executive from a top five bank earned earned an average of R187,800 a day – on the basis of 250 work days in a year. 

Taking only basic salaries into account (excluding bonuses), the figure drops to R36,560 per day – almost 85% more than the average South African earns in a month, and 38 times more than they earn in a day (R953).   Here’s how SA’s retail banking CEOs got paid in the 2017 financial year (2018 for Capitec), including how much they made per work day.

  • Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie – R226,560 a day

Fourie came out as the top-paid CEO among the country’s big five retail banks. He received a R56.6 million payout, thanks mainly due to a long-term incentive (LTI), along with a 10% increase in his basic pay package.

  • FirstRand CEO Johan Burger – R215,560 a day

Burger was paid almost R54 million for the 2017 financial year – though this is for the year ended June 2017, so is not quite as up-to-date as the other groups. FirstRand’s new salary information will be published in October.

  • Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala – R194,000 a day

Tshabalala saw a 9% increase in his salary to R48.5 million for his first year as solo CEO at the bank. The payout includes a guaranteed salary of R9.1 million, and an annual bonus of R11.4 million. He was paid a further R14 million in an annual deferred award, as well as an additional R14 million as part of the group’s performance reward programme (PRP).

  • Nedbank CEO Mike Brown – R152,480 a day

Brown earned a basic salary of R8.1 million, and scored bonuses worth R13.75 million. The rest of his pay package was made up of vested shares as part of his long-term (LTI) incentives and dividends paid, bringing the total to R38.124 million. The CEO was also awarded a R14.5 million worth of shares for the year, as part of his LTI.

  • Absa CEO Maria Ramos – R150,240 a day

Ramos was the lowest paid, with a total pay package made up of a basic salary of R8.23 million, benefits of over R328,000, bonuses of R12.5 million and deferred income from previous years totalling R16.6 million.

Salary breakdown

The salaries below show the total remuneration received by the respective CEOs in the 2017 financial year, including the reported share values received as indicated in the annual reports.

FirstRand’s report is for the full year ending June 2017, and Capitec’s data is for the full year ending February 2018. Standard Bank, Nedbank and Absa’s data is for the full year ending December 2017.

The figures below represent the total packages, including short term and reported long term incentives.

Bank CEO 2017 Salary (Rm) ZAR per work day Excluding bonuses
Capitec Gerrie Fourie 56.64 226 560 42 520
FirstRand Johan Burger 53.89 215 560 38 960
Standard Bank Sim Tshabalala 48.50 194 000 36 400
Nedbank Mike Brown 38.12 152 480 32 400
Absa Maria Ramos 37.56 150 240 32 520
Average 46.94 187 800 36 560

* Salary of Former FirstRand CEO, Sizwe Nxasana


As is typical with executive pay, the biggest draw for CEOs comes through short-term and long-term incentive schemes, which pay out cash and share bonuses over a certain period, which often yields massive awards.

In 2017, this was no different, with the bulk of the CEO’s massive paycheques being made up of bonuses.

On a basic guaranteed package measure, the highest and lowest paid executives remain essentially the same, with Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie topping with over R10 million. Absa CEO Maria Ramos earned only slightly more than Nedbank’s Mike Brown.

These incentive schemes pay out at different times, according to the specific contract with each respective CEO, and the executives are typically given an option to exercise their options, or to defer them to another time.

Meet the South African bosses who earn almost R190,000 a day


Stats SA has published its latest quarterly employment data for the third quarter of 2018 ending September.  According to its report, employment in South Africa decreased by 16,000 quarter-on-quarter, from 9.75 million in June 2018, to 9.73 million in September.

Year on year, employment figures were up by 0.2%, however, with the average monthly salary also up by 5% YoY, and 3.5% QoQ.

The average salary for South Africa’s workforce as at August 2018 is R20,860 a month, up from R20,163 in July 2018, and R19,865 in August 2017.  This is approximately R250,320 a year.


Across the various industries, those working in the electricity industry are the most well remunerated, while those in the trade industry draws the lowest average.

Employment by industry


The table below outlines salary changes across industries. StatsSA’s data covers the three month period between June 2018 and September 2018, so the data below shows the average over that period.

This is the average salary in South Africa right now


2016 salaries

How much money the “average Joe” CEO earns in South Africa



Based on our survey (3,298 individual salary profiles) average GROSS salary in South Africa is ZAR 465,482. Average NET salary is ZAR 319,475. The most frequent GROSS salary is ZAR 245,835. The most frequent education is Bachelors Degree. The most frequent experience are 4-8 Years.

Career Avg. gross salary (in USD) Profiles
Director ZAR 1,028,458 US$ 106,194 77
Human Resources Manager ZAR 563,400 US$ 52,577 76
IT Manager ZAR 777,533 US$ 76,362 70
Chartered Accountant ZAR 818,845 US$ 74,646 63
Manager ZAR 663,880 US$ 66,355 62
General Manager ZAR 996,067 US$ 98,501 59
Engineer ZAR 486,259 US$ 48,782 49
Software Developer ZAR 403,689 US$ 42,179 48
Mechanical Engineer ZAR 476,996 US$ 52,910 42
Finance Manager ZAR 645,469 US$ 66,252 40
City Avg. gross salary (in USD) Profiles
Johannesburg ZAR 535,379 US$ 54,369 1,504
Cape Town ZAR 420,664 US$ 42,769 779
Tshwane ZAR 444,198 US$ 45,500 281
eThekwini ZAR 429,448 US$ 43,744 209
Ekurhuleni ZAR 337,025 US$ 35,738 113
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro ZAR 330,256 US$ 32,868 89
Polokwane ZAR 421,655 US$ 44,030 32
Buffalo, South Africa ZAR 339,471 US$ 33,037 32

3 gedagtes oor “Top Salaries and benefits – South Africa (expenditures)”

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