Middle and high earners buoyant

The salaries of middle to high income earners continued to grow despite "significant" stagnation in the economy, according the latest BankservAfrica Disposable Salary Index (BDSI) released on Wednesday (28/05/2014).

Monthly salaries of R100,000 or more were not considered when compiling the BDSI, regulated products CEO Brad Gillis said in a statement.

However, the salary data indicated the number of people earning at that level had risen year-on-year by 84 percent in February, and 27 percent in April.

"The nominal BDSI for April 2014 is exactly R11,200, which is 7.1 percent higher than a year ago. This means salaries have grown by one percent in real terms when inflation and other factors are taken into account," he said.

"This is in line with data we have analysed over the last 10 months, where South Africa has seen positive real salary increases, although this growth has remained under one percent since the beginning of 2014."

Total salary pay-outs, on average, increased by 1.2 percent in real terms.

"That was, however, mainly on the back of higher payments to those earning over R100,000 per month," he said.

"Moreover, the March payments in the highest salary category that we monitor - being the over R100,000 per month bracket - increased in value by 38 percent year-on-year."

In April, this category increased by 39 percent year-on-year, partly because there were 27 percent more people in the category than a year ago.

Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za, said the increase in salaries among high income earners at least partly off-set the effect of the platinum strike on the economy.

The total amount paid out to this group reached R3.3 billion in March.

Gillis said although the full effect of the strike was still difficult to gauge, the estimated number of people who received payments via the BankservAfrica system appeared to have declined 3.5 percent in April compared to a year ago.

The median take-home pay, via the BankservAfrica system, remained between R8000 and R9000.

Salaries of more than R9000 a month went to 46.2 percent of earners, while more than 41 percent took home more than R10,000 a month.

"The 'median' person refers to the 'typical' person, where 50 percent of these people earn more, and 50 percent earn less," said Gillis.

"The 'typical' person is earning between R8000 and R9000 per month, every month. The average is actually higher."

The "typical" person was probably earning close to R9000, as 46.2 percent of people getting paid via the BankservAfrica system earned more than R9000 a month in their bank account after deductions.

"On the salary side of the BankservAfrica data, it seems that the median is at least keeping pace with inflation," Schüssler said.

"Generally, those employed in the private sector continue to see good increases."

This applied especially to those earning above the average of R11,200 a month. - Sapa