Salaries edge back to pre-pandemic levels

Typical take-home pay has increased by four percent in real terms.

Although reports of job losses and temporary pay suspensions surfaced in April 2020, the pandemic-induced changes for salaries and retrenchments only became evident in the months that followed, according to the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI).

Salaries for large companies are edging closer to levels before the pandemic struck and the unabated growth for banked private pensions outpaced salaries during the month.

“After inflation, the average take-home pay was R12 958 in April 2021. The average salary, in nominal terms, increased by 6.8 percent year-on-year to reach R15 083,” says Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s Head of Stakeholder Engagements.

April 2020 also recorded a decline in average salaries. The likely decline in temporary workers contracted by larger firms in April 2020 may have contributed to the average take-home pay’s improvement. It is also possible hourly and part-time workers were paid less, which increased the average and even the median take-home pay tracked in the BTPI for April 2021.

The typical take-home pay increased by 2.2 percent after inflation.
The BTPI data shows that the total value of all salaries rose by 4 percent in real terms in April 2021, however that does not accurately reflect small business or the informal market.

Due to the hard lockdown and government’s financial assistance to affected salaries, retail sales and other consumer consumption measures will reflect far higher changes than total salaries.

The average banked private pension was 61.6 percent of the average take-home salary in April 2021.
“The BankservAfrica Private Pensions Index (BPPI) increased by 7.1 percent in real terms. This is the sixth consecutive month in which banked private pensions increased at a rate faster than salaries,” says Shergeran.

The average real private pension equalled R7 693 in April 2021 while the private pension in nominal terms was R9 285 when paid into the pensioner’s bank account.

However, the total value of private pensions paid into pensioner bank accounts fell by 8.5 pecent. This is due to the estimated extra 130 000 actual payments to pensioners in April 2020 (about twice a year, a significant number of extra payments are made to pensioners as shown in our data. These are usually bonuses). The total paid to all pensioners was the fourth highest on record at R5.9 billion.