Median monthly earnings by status in employment, 2017 and 2022

Written on 05/08/2024
MJ Minter Inc

STATS SA has released a report on monthly earnings which makes for interesting reading. Below is a summary of the highlights.

In 2017, there were approximately 16,1 million employed persons for pay or profit. The number declined by 642 000 in 2022 to 15,4 million, with 13,0 million being employees (or 84,0%), while 1,6 million (or 10,5%) were own-account workers and 846 thousand (or 5,5%) were employers. The median monthly earnings were highest among employers at R10 000, followed by employees with their median at R5 417, and the lowest median monthly earnings were observed among the own-account workers at R3 500 in 2022. 

Between 2017 and 2022, the total median monthly earnings increased by R800 from R4 400 to R5 200. Over the same period, the largest increase in the median monthly earnings was observed among employees (R917), followed by own-account workers (R900). It remained unchanged among employers at R10 000. The median monthly earnings for employers was higher across all years compared to that of employees and own-account workers. 

The distributions of employers' and own-account workers' are significantly different from employees. Moreover, the distribution of employers and own-account workers also differs substantially from each other. Since these relationships vary depending on an individual's status in employment, an analysis that considers all employed would consequently produce less meaningful data regarding the relationship between socio-demographic variables and earnings. The number of people employed in the informal sector in South Africa reached a peak point at over 7.8 million in 2023. This has been part of a general increasing trend.