Recent report shows a decline in March salaries

SA salaries are under pressure from a higher inflation rate.

BankservAfrica’s monthly Take-home Pay Index (BTPI) reveals that the average take-home pay declined in March 2022 as the number of salaries paid increased compared to a year ago.

“The average real salary was R14,969 in March, falling below the R15,000+ mark seen in the previous months,” says Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagements. “The real BTPI annual decline of 5.6 percent is one of the biggest annual falls on record.”

The significant decline in average salaries, Naidoo says, hides the reality that more people are receiving salaries than last year.

The return of casual and weekly workers, and most of the vulnerable sectors in the Covid-19 pandemic such as tourism and entertainment, has resulted in the annual growth in the monthly estimate of employment numbers.

According to Naidoo, more firms are hiring people at the lower end of the salary scale for new employment opportunities.

“Overall, the total number of people paid via BankservAfrica is very close to reaching the 2019 levels, after already having exceeded the 2020 numbers,” says Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za.

The BankservAfrica Private Pensions Index (BPPI) also revealed that the average real private pension fell for the second time in 20 months. “The real average private pension was R9,475, which represented a 0.1 percent year-on-year decline,” says Naidoo.

The total take-home pay and private pensions processed in value terms declined by 1.3 percent in real terms but increased by 4.5 percent in nominal terms. “Based on these numbers, and with salaries coming under greater pressure from the higher inflation rate, one can expect overall retail sales to show a declining or slowing trend in the next month or two,” Schüssler says.