This is the average salary in South Africa right now

StatsSA has published the latest Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) for Q2 2020, showing what workers are getting paid across the various sectors in the country.

According to the data, the average monthly earnings paid to employees in the formal non-agricultural sector increased/decreased by 4.2% quarter-on-quarter.

The average worker gets paid R21,455 per month (down slightly from R22,395 recorded in Q1 2020), down from R21,796 in the same period in 2019. This equates to approximately R257,460 per year.

Total gross earnings paid to employees decreased by R82.2 billion or (-11,3%) from R729.4 billion in March 2020 to R647.2 billion in June 2020.

The decrease was mainly due to the increases in business services, trade, manufacturing, construction, community services, mining, transport, and electricity, StatsSA said.

Bonus and overtime paid to employees decreased by R16.4 billion (-26.2%) from R62.6 billion in March 2020 to R46.2 billion in June 2020.

This was largely due to decreases in the following industries: business services, manufacturing, trade, community services, construction and electricity.

However, the transport industry showed an increase. Year-on-year, bonus and overtime payments decreased by R11.2 billion or (-19.6%).

The QES shows that total employment decreased by 648,000 or -6,4% quarter-on-quarter, from 10,196,000 in March 2020 to 9,548,000 in June 2020.

This was largely due to decreases in the following industries:

  • Trade (-192,000 or -8,4%);
  • Business services (-147,000 or -6,3%);
  • Community services (-103,000 or -3,7%);
  • Manufacturing (-85,000 or -7,1%);
  • Construction (-74,000 or -13,2%);
  • Transport (-38,000 or -7,6%);
  • Mining (-6,000 or -1,3%);
  • Electricity (-3,000 or -4,9%).

However, this doesn’t reflect unemployment but rather shows how many people did not receive salaries.

There are two official sources of employment statistics, the QES – which is establishment based – and the QLFS – which is household-based. Each survey has its strengths and limitations.

For example, the QES cannot provide information on the following:

  • Description of the employed e.g. their demographic profile, education level, hours of work etc.; and
  • Unemployment and descriptors of the unemployed.

The Quarterly labour force survey (QLFS) is a survey of households which collects information from approximately 30,000 dwelling units and collects data on the labour market activities of individuals; whereas Quarterly employment statistics (QES) is an enterprise based survey that collects information from non-agricultural businesses and organisations from approximately 20,000 units.

The QLFS for the second quarter of the year showed that 2.2 million people lost their jobs over the quarter.

Stats SA stressed that in the QES, persons who are paid by their employer for all or any part of the pay period are counted as employed, even if they were not actually at their jobs.

Persons who are temporarily or permanently absent from their jobs and who are not being paid (i.e. do not receive salary/wages) are not counted as employed.

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