SA salaries revealed: Big pay for IT specialists as fintech sector explodes. How do you compare?

Businesses in South Africa’s fintech sector are on an impressive growth trajectory, looking at the number of jobs – and salaries – on offer. Employment specialist Jesse Green, who is country manager for job aggregator Adzuna, has analysed data that has been feeding through job listings and finds that the number of positions available has mushroomed.  While estate agents report that many Johannesburg residents have been “semi-grating” to the Western Cape, Adzuna’s figures indicate that the country’s IT specialists are heading north as Gauteng becomes the city of choice for start-ups. Meanwhile, the dark political clouds that have gathered over the country obscure the reality that the demand for specialist skills is far higher than supply in South Africa – which means there are great opportunities for people who continually update their expertise. If you are contemplating a career, or career change, take a look at the list below for ideas on how to tap into demand and for an indication on whether your pay is in line with salaries on offer in the market. – Jackie Cameron

By Jesse Green*

While start-up jobs are definitely more common to find in South Africa, one area of innovation which show a huge amount of growth is fintech, according to data sourced by job aggregator Adzuna. Since the start of 2016, jobs in that sector have seen a growth of over 1400%, shooting up from 5 jobs in January 2016 to over 99 jobs by September 2016.

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Adzuna lists every online job in the country and runs numerous data requests from over 130,000 job listings on its website. Their data team marks keywords and notes changes in the demand of jobs and skills throughout South Africa. Earlier this year, the job aggregator reported that the centre of startups had moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg, when one looked to the demand for jobs in that industry.

This evidence ties in with the opinion of Accenture, who estimates that more than 33% of the current revenue generated by the general financial services industry could be replaced by innovations in fintech alone.

Even if one takes into account that a higher percentage of jobs online are technology based than exist in the economy, these figures show a strong trend of growth within fintech, since jobs are a clear indicator of a growing sector. It may also be prudent to think of fintech as not necessary being in the startup space, especially for those job seekers who shy away from younger companies.

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Not only are there more jobs available, the salary package is quite sizeable too. With South African online jobs having an average annual salary of R369 129, the fintech area’s job listings promise around R528 618 with many positions reaching above R700,000. This ties in with the fintech industry showing many companies being funded, such as Wigroup receiving investment from Investec, Nomanini’s recurring funding series or Zoona bagging $15M in August 2016.

Job seekers would do well to look out for roles in the fintech industry, whether they are developers or engineers (the technology side of fintech), finance boffs or hold any other skill that an office environment or financial company would require.

While some jobs are in high demand, others are very hard to find as well. Adzuna in South Africa has done some research on the most sought after skills by companies and their demand from job seekers, crowning those that push both factors the most to be the rarest skills in the country. By this logic, if a skill is in high demand but low in supply, this makes it rarer than skills which are low in both available candidates and low in demand.

From the data generated by listing over 130,000 online job listings in South Africa, as well as searching through mountains of search requests by millions of applicants, skills needed for the following industries and vacancies has risen and is high (see Table). However, cross-referenced is the amount of job seekers available or looking for the relevant skills, making some qualifications and skills far more rare to find.

Demand for skills by companies crossed with demand for positions by job seeker searches

Job skill or title

Demand from companies

Demand from job seekers

“Rareness” factor

Average salary – Sept 2016

Average salary – May 2016

java developer

2181

19

114,8

R528 135

R525 369

financial accountant

996

11

90,5

R439 920

R422 844

developer

15601

224

69,6

R470 872

R486 281

php developer

1458

23

63,4

R395 950

R401 590

web developer

1366

32

42,7

R407 987

R442 016

assistant manager

948

25

37,9

R218 449

R197 904

software developer

1219

33

36,9

R496 747

R507 944

recruiter

2450

108

22,7

R513 326

R475 724

net developer

939

50

18,8

R467 460

R457 940

consultant

5644

397

14,2

R277 493

R275 716

technologist

929

70

13,3

R486 118

R473 417

executive

3058

262

11,7

R315 045

R307 892

analyst

4054

361

11,2

R531 762

R529 491

accountant

3934

376

10,5

R418 910

R415 556

pharmacist

1284

192

6,7

R506 418

R568 405

designer

1861

280

6,6

R363 890

R393 921

coordinator

1044

267

3,9

R246 187

R211 475

planner

872

227

3,8

R449 795

R417 609

project manager

1370

359

3,8

R558 330

R551 704

engineer

8238

2266

3,6

R596 996

R565 653

business analyst

1304

361

3,6

R569 417

R548 304

manager

22631

6479

3,5

R498 565

R484 938

quantity surveyor

901

269

3,3

R532 380

R482 622

civil engineer

869

269

3,2

R592 809

R595 538

bookkeeper

1336

490

2,7

R181 150

R205 298

controller

2331

871

2,7

R345 115

R364 566

secretary

1008

464

2,2

R168 895

R187 767

officer

4026

1894

2,1

R286 784

R281 632

technician

2485

1205

2,1

R227 406

R269 947

surveyor

1035

510

2,0

R561 940

R477 961

foreman

891

549

1,6

R453 944

R410 078

assistant

5372

3328

1,6

R151 827

R168 280

clerk

3334

2078

1,6

R141 018

R133 952

supervisor

1514

1102

1,4

R253 359

R260 419

salesperson

1894

1400

1,4

R267 329

R233 467

operator

2311

2500

0,9

R392 775

R408 920

sales manager

1145

1400

0,8

R436 646

R414 721

chef

1409

1800

0,8

R157 660

R178 609

nurse

1768

2404

0,7

R283 224

R317 664

mechanic

1330

1827

0,7

R464 945

R439 354

registered nurse

936

3497

0,3

R276 671

R285 932

administrator

4550

18000

0,3

R184 159

R205 468

receptionist

1705

6962

0,2

R97 464

R102 780

driver

1814

14685

0,1

R111 919

R100 373

A 2,0 factor score would thus mean that in essence, twice as many vacancies exist as job seekers searching for such a position. If this does not seem rare enough already, bear in mind that the job seeker looking for work in that skill or job title may not even be qualified or suitable for the position.

The results contain a few interesting findings, yet the rarest skills still remain in the technology sector. Engineers and developers, together with financial skills, are clearly the hardest to find, with the most demand from firms, yet with the least available candidates. Interestingly, recruiters are now a hot skill, with many organisations and agencies requiring recruitment specialists in their HR departments.

While not every job in demand is posted online, the trends shown by the sample data are clear and meaningful. Companies must dig deep to explore new ways of attracting programming and engineering skills, as well as some of those in the financial or accountancy area. Management skills too, represent a challenge.

IT plus management skills boosts salaries

Combining these two data sets gives one a clearer view on which skills are hardest to find in South Africa, yet not every rare skill is necessarily highly paid. As a third factor, salary would probably be able to assist in predicting further the rarest skills in South Africa, although in some industries, such as textiles, weaving managers with many qualifications and years of experience do not necessarily earn as high a income as one might imagine, given that there are extremely few of these skills in the country. The highest salaries for those skills in the table above were for engineers, pharmacists, project managers, developers and analysts.

What is interesting to note, which is not shown in these results, is the change in salaries from May to September, where the rarer skills have not seen as much growth as one would have expected.

Another means of interpreting skill rarity is to see what the Department of Labour recognises as South Africa’s “critical skills”. A list of critical skills is published annually and the list from 2014 is used by the Department of Home Affairs to determine if a foreign worker may be employed ahead of a South African. Unfortunately this list is becoming outdated and does not take into account later lists published by the Department of Labour.

With numerous means of finding out which skills are rare, the technology arena continually shines through as the place to be working in. Now, with finance skills showing an increasing difficulty to recruit, it will be interesting to see how companies, and hopefully the South African government, ensure that South African firms are able to hire the right people with the best competencies.

  • Jesse Green is Adzuna Country Manager for South Africa. This information on SA salaries first appeared at adzuna.co.za.
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