The latest Quarterly Employment Statistics for the monthly average wage in South Africa has highlighted just how serious the impact of COVID-19 has been for the working public. Released earlier this week, the data shows that there has been a substantial decrease in what South Africans have been paid during the pandemic.

Wage woes: How the pandemic has hurt our earning power

StatsSA revealed that bonus and overtime payments had also been slashed dramatically. About R81 billion has been wiped off off the gross earnings total for the previous quarter, a drop of more than 4% since February:

“The QES is designed to obtain information regarding the number of employees and gross salaries paid in the formal sector. Decreases in gross earnings were due to declines in both basic salaries/wages and bonuses and overtime payments by R66 billion and R16 billion respectively.”

“Average monthly earnings were measured at R21 455 in the formal non-agricultural sector of the economy in May 2020. This is a 4.2% decrease when compared to the pre-pandemic month of February 2020, and an annual decrease of 1.6%.”


What is the average monthly wage in South Africa?

These changes have skewed what the average monthly wage is for a South African worker in a non-agricultural industry. It’s believed that workers are taking home R1 000 less than they were in the previous quarter, which was largely unaffected by coronavirus. These new figures also show a slump from the year-on-year comparison.

  • The average worker in South Africa now gets paid R21 455 per month.
  • This is down from R22 395 recorded in Q1 2020.
  • It’s also a decrease of R341 per month from the same period in 2019.
  • The total average salary in South Africa equates to approximately R257 460 per year.


Presh JM Reporter

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