The Highest-paid Professions in South Africa in 2020


Although certain industries have been more affected than others concerning job demand and salary increases in the aftermath of Covid-19, there is still a growing demand for solid professional skills with promising pay packages for the ideal candidates.

Therefore, careers in the financial, law and technology sectors continue to be the highest-paid in the country this year, a fact confirmed by the 2020 salary guide published by specialist recruiting firm Michael Page. Below is a snapshot of the best-paid jobs this year.

Finance, accounting and tax

Top earners in these sectors – group regional CFOs and financial directors – can expect to be paid up to a whopping R5 million a year, with the average salary at R4 million a year for CFOs and R3 million a year for finance directors.

Per comparison, top jobs in financial accounting, tax and auditing are remunerated to an average of R2 million a year for high-stakes positions such as Chief Audit Officer and Tax Director. Audit Managers and Tax Managers earn up to R1 million a year on average.

A certified financial accountant CA (SA) takes home up to R850k per year, and a standard financial accountant or tax accounting job in a South African firm still offers a very competitive salary range between 500k and 800k.

Legal and compliance

In the law profession, general counsels (GC) and partners at law boutique firms receive an average of R3 million a year, the highest remuneration in this sector. Still, there are many other well-paid opportunities in the legal and compliance market.

A Head of Compliance or Group Company Secretary position can earn R2 million a year on average. At the same time, a Senior Associate at an international law firm takes home R1 million a year. Legal secretary jobs are valued at only R400k a year on average.

Technology industry

Limited local skills in the fast-growing tech industry have pushed sought-after careers in automation, robotics, data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning to the highest-paid echelons. It’s not uncommon to see executive positions as Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) topping at R2 million a year salary on average.

An enterprise IT managerial role is rewarded with a salary from R1,2 to R1,6 million a year. Cybersecurity engineers costs companies R1 million a year, and business analysts around R800K.  At the opposite pole, network administrators and network engineers are offered between R350k and R500k per year.

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