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Employment opportunities rose, but SA's salary bill dropped

By unknown | Jun 27, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

South Africa's average monthly salary fell more than 7percent to R8275 a month during the first quarter of this year from R8929 a month during the last quarter of last year.

Statistics South Africa's (Stats SA's) Quarterly Employment Statistics survey attributed this drop to Christmas bonuses.

The number of people employed in the formal non-agricultural business sector increased by about 17000 people or 0,2 percent from December to 8,239million in March.

Though the number of jobs went up a fraction, the country's total salary bill declined. During the last three months of last year, 8,22million people earned R220billion. During the first three months of this year, 8,24million people earned R204,5billion - bringing the average gross salary down 7,3 percent to R8 275 a month.

The official figure for average monthly earnings including bonuses and overtime was R7862 in February, down 0,8percent from November's R7924.

Nearly a quarter of formal jobs are in what Stats SA classifies as "Community, social and personal services industry". This encompasses teachers and government employees. This sector grew by 1,2percent or 25000 people during the quarter, but the total payroll fell 3,7 percent. Stats SA attributed the decline to yearly and performance bonuses and overtime payments paid during the fourth quarter of last year.

Financial services is South Africa's second biggest employer, accounting for 22percent of formal jobs. An additional 17000 jobs were created by banks and other financial institutions between January and March.

The construction sector is creating jobs the fastest, but paying the worst. The building boom resulted in an extra 13000 people being taken on. The average builder earned R5218,68 a month.

The next worst paid were employees in the sales and hospitality sector who averaged R5673,31 a month each. This sector shed 33000 jobs during the quarter, but remains South Africa's third biggest employer.

The manufacturing and transport industries also laid people off during the first three months of this year. Employment grew a fraction in the mining and quarrying sector.


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