Highest Paying Jobs in South Africa South Africa Labor Market Specifics and Statistics List Of The Highest Paying Jobs In South Africa Top Paying Companies in South Africa Tips for Getting Best Paid Jobs in South Africa Conclusion
Highest Paying Jobs in South Africa South Africa Labor Market Specifics and Statistics List Of The Highest Paying Jobs In South Africa Top Paying Companies in South Africa Tips for Getting Best Paid Jobs in South Africa Conclusion
Updated 10/12/2020

Highest Paying Jobs in South Africa

Even though the labor market in South Africa is specific, and the country has enough problems to solve in favor of the population, the local economy can offer decent salaries to highly qualified and well-educated candidates. Below we’ve analyzed the most promising professions, assessed the labor market in this country, and prompted you what to do to get a leading and highly paid position.

Even though the labor market in South Africa is specific, and the country has enough problems to solve in favor of the population, the local economy can offer decent salaries to highly qualified and well-educated candidates. Below we’ve analyzed the most promising professions, assessed the labor market in this country, and prompted you what to do to get a leading and highly paid position.

Knowing the trends and characteristics of the labor market in your country or any country where you want to get a job is a substantial advantage. It allows you to activate strategic thinking. We decided to devote this article to the South African labor market and analyze the best-paying professions there.

Spoiler! A step-by-step strategy for landing such a position is also attached in this guide.


South Africa Labor Market Specifics and Statistics

The labor market, as well as the South African economy, are quite specific. The most positive factor worth noting is that this country’s economy is relatively stable. The following are some of the main trends of the labor market:

  • There is a significant wage gap between women and men (with an advantage towards the latter).
  • Racial inequality. According to statistics, people from India and Asia earn more here than the indigenous population.
  • The main labor force is made up of people from 25 to 54 years old. Against this background and high unemployment level, young people (18-25) find themselves in the most vulnerable position when it comes to employment.
  • As is always the case with developing countries, the difference between the poor and the rich is all too noticeable. About 70% of the country's population earns less than the established subsistence minimum, therefore, living on the brink of poverty.
  • South Africa has the second-highest unemployment rate in the world, overtaken only by Venezuela. The unemployment rate for South Africa is 28.7%.
  • In 2020, 41.1% of the working population in South Africa has upper secondary education. 4.65% have no education at all, and 7.9% have post-secondary education.

Despite the specifics of the labor market, there are still some high-paying jobs in South Africa. To get hired for one of them, you should study your potential career opportunities, understand employers’ current requirements, and then choose your development trajectory.


List Of The Highest Paying Jobs In South Africa

Below are the best paying jobs in SA with annual salaries indicated. So, if you are betting on the rapid development of your career, here are the professions to choose from.

#Job nameSectorAnnual salary (R ‘000)
1Group/Regional CFOFinance & AccountingR5 000
2Partner (International Law Firm)LegalR5 000
3Partner (Top SA law firm)LegalR4 000
4VP of Supply ChainSupply Chain & LogisticsR3 800
5Finance DirectorFinance & AccountingR3 500
6VP HR / Chief HR OfficerHuman ResourcesR3 200
7In-house GC (General Counsel)LegalR3 000
8Partner (Boutique law firm)LegalR3 000
9Supply Chain/Logistics DirectorSupply Chain & LogisticsR2 800
10VP of ProcurementProcurementR2 800
11General Manager (B2B)Sales & MarketingR2 800
12General Manager (Sales and Marketing)Sales & MarketingR2 600
13VP of SalesSales & MarketingR2 600
14Chief Marketing OfficerSales & MarketingR2 600
15Chief Audit OfficerFinance & AccountingR2 400
16Head of ComplianceLegalR2 400
17HR DirectorHuman ResourcesR2 400
18Manufacturing DirectorEngineering & ManufacturingR2 300
19Tax DirectorFinance & AccountingR2 200
20Head of HRHuman ResourcesR2 200
21Procurement DirectorProcurementR2 200
22Marketing DirectorSales & MarketingR2 200
23Country ManagerSales & MarketingR2 200
24Group Company SecretaryLegalR2 100
25Chief Information OfficerInformation TechnologyR2 000
26IT DirectorInformation TechnologyR2 000
27IT Security ManagerInformation TechnologyR2 000
28Chief Enterprise ArchitectInformation TechnologyR2 000
29Project DirectorEngineering & ManufacturingR2 000
30Head of Sales / Sales Director (Consumer)Sales & MarketingR2 000

Pay attention that local currency (R, Rand, R1=$0.064) is used to specify the wages for the highest paying specialists.

1. Head of Legal Compliance

This role offers the highest salaries in the legal industry - R 2 400 000 per year. The minimal requirement for targeting such positions is a Masters of Law degree obtained at the University of Cape Town, plus exceptional knowledge of the legislation of the Republic of South Africa, depending on the specialization of the law firm. The main responsibility of the positions is to

  • control the process of consulting corporate and private clients,
  • develop strategies for action in incredibly difficult legal cases.

2. Head of Sales and Marketing

There are many profitable sales and marketing positions since each company, regardless of the industry, needs to promote its goods and services. Higher education in economics, marketing, sales, or related directions is required to be considered a candidate for the highest-paid positions. Practical experience that can be confirmed by real results will be a competitive advantage. As for the salary, it may reach R 2 000 000 - 2 200 000 annually.

The responsibilities are the:

  • development of marketing strategies,
  • constant study of domestic and foreign markets,
  • improving the level of sales,
  • analyzing the results of the work of sales and marketing departments,
  • finding new ways to promote the company in the international arena.

3. IT director

In the IT sector, there are many well-paid opportunities for you to grab. IT director is one of the most profitable positions in this field - the salary of this specialist may reach R 2 000 000. As for the skills and qualities needed for this position, the perfect candidate should be a tech-savvy person with analytical and strategic thinking. The more specific stack of technologies and skills you need depends on the employee and its main activity direction.

The primary responsibilities of the IT director position include the following:

  • management of information infrastructure,
  • introduction of new technological solutions,
  • control of the information security of the enterprise.
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4. Manufacturing (Project) Director

To land this role, you need higher education in the field of engineering. What’s more, in this case, the diploma issued by the university abroad will be your competitive advantage. You may try for these positions even if you are a foreigner; however, the ability to speak, write, and understand South Africa’s native language is an obligatory requirement. As for the salary, it comes in at R 2 000 000 per year.

Here are the main duties typical for this position:

  • taking responsibility for the production process at each of its stages,
  • quality control,
  • ensuring the safety of employees,
  • preventing emergencies,
  • introducing technological innovations to improve production efficiency.

5. Supply Chain Logistics Director

This is the best-paid job in the field of logistics, procurement, and supply chain management. In this case, in addition to higher education and management skills, you also need to be tech-savvy since all the processes in modern logistics are powered by technologies that directly affect business efficiency. The annual wage in this position is R 2 800 000.

Performing your duties in this role, you will be responsible for:

  • the efficiency of the supply chain and its optimization,
  • the efficiency of the logistics of the enterprise,
  • constantly looking for ways to improve routes to reduce money, fuel, and time costs.

6. Group/Regional Finance Director

The position of Group/Regional Finance Director is the highest paid in finance and across all the industries in South Africa. The annual wage for this position is R5 000 000. To get in such a position, you need a finance degree (education abroad will be a plus) and a lot of finance management and consulting experience. In the workplace, you will:

  • fully manage financial companies,
  • create reports for owners,
  • advise top clients on how to manage their funds,
  • suggest investment ideas,
  • deal with tax issues.

7. Head of HR

Helping companies manage their human resources is also a profitable occupation. What’s more, no company doesn’t need an HR manager on-board. Since many leading companies understand the value of qualified personnel, they are ready to pay R 2 200 000 annually for competent help and the skill to match the vacancy with a candidate’s qualification and the company’s mission. That’s why the highest paying job in South Africa in the field of HRM is the Head of HR.

Responsibilities in this position include:

  • overseeing and managing human resources,
  • developing job descriptions,
  • interviewing candidates at the final stage,
  • participating in the onboarding process,
  • developing recommendations for senior management to improve the work experience of employees and increase their effectiveness.

Top Paying Companies in South Africa

We figured out the professions that promise the biggest salaries in South Africa. Now let's go deeper and find out which companies you need to target to get an offer worthy of your knowledge and competencies.

  • Amazon. Without a doubt, the world's largest online retailer doesn't need a long introduction. By the way, an interesting fact! According to one study, only 39% of those employed in the retail and trade industry receive an average wage, while the rest earn less than the established minimum. However, Amazon is an entirely different case. Here, regardless of the position you take, you will not feel left out.
  • Standard Bank Group. It is one of the leading banks in South Africa, which also happens to have many open vacancies at the moment. The salary level may fluctuate depending on qualifications; however, it fully meets the generally accepted standard for this country’s financial industry.
  • Accenture. One of the world-leading software development and business consulting companies undoubtedly offers the best careers in South Africa. There are three offices in SA - Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. So, if one of the open vacancies in the South African branch suits your competencies, hurry up and showcase your candidacy.
  • MultiChoice. This is a leading media holding company that gathers several telecommunications, entertainment, and broadcasting businesses under its roof. As for the open vacancies, currently, there are positions in marketing, business operations, customer support, and content production sectors.
  • Vodacom. It is one of the leading mobile operators that also provides related services and is constantly in need of technicians and support workers.
  • Escom. This is an industrial company that provides electrical services. The state-owned company’s main activity is household electricity connections, which means many related operations of various kinds. There are always a lot of different openings in this company, and the government controls the level of its employees’ salaries. So, make sure to consider their vacancies if you don’t mind working in public enterprise.
  • The University of Cape Town. The education industry is not on the list of the highest-paying industries, but a job at the University of Cape Town is considered prestigious and highly paid. Since most of the population does not have a higher education, the employees of this university can apply for a significantly higher salary.
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Tips for Getting Best Paid Jobs in South Africa

We have already revealed insights about the most promising companies in South Africa and the positions to target to earn the maximum possible in this country. Now, let's move on to the practical part of our guide.

Decide on an Industry

As you can see, some industries require very specific knowledge from you. For example, if you want to be a leading lawyer in one of the firms in South Africa, then you need to know the laws of South Africa exclusively. However, if you have good sales, marketing, and human resource management skills, you can consider any of the industries - either the one that you like more or the one that will offer more money. Of course, a perfect match for these two factors is the best option.

Apply for a Work Visa if You Are Not a Resident

Even though South Africa has a high unemployment rate, some leading companies are willing to hire talents from abroad, as most of the population has only secondary education. Therefore, working in South Africa as an expat can be an exciting idea. Of course, you need a work visa issued by the Department of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa. Keep in mind that you can’t enter the country as a traveler and then apply for a work permit. If your goal is to work in SA, you should focus on getting a working visa, giving you the right to travel around the country and stay in it for a specified term.

Make Sure to Meet the Necessary Requirements

Highly profitable positions have the same high and specific requirements for candidates. Before submitting your application, ensure that your experience, background, skills, and knowledge correspond to those described in the vacancy. To do this, analyze each requirement one by one and honestly answer to yourself if you can cope with a specific task.

If you are applying for a job in South Africa as a foreigner, you need to make sure that your qualifications meet the generally accepted standards in that country. For this, you need to get in touch with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to evaluate your qualifications. The document obtained will help you with your job search since it will immediately determine what positions you may target.

Leverage Your English (or Afrikaans If You Are a Foreigner) Understanding

There are 11 languages spoken in South Africa, and English is one of the main on the list. All representatives of management positions know English, but they also have to communicate with ordinary people who speak only their native language. Therefore, if you are serious about working in South Africa, start learning or improving your Africaans. And vice versa. If you are a local resident with a strong desire to get a leading position, English proficiency is a must. Fortunately, there are tons of websites, courses, educational videos, and apps to do it.

Polish Your Resume

Most likely, if you're applying for the coolest jobs, your resume already has amazing experience, strong skills, and respectable accomplishments. However, do not forget that the resume should be customized according to the position you are applying for and show experience, education, and skills that are most relevant to those described in the vacancy.

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Prepare a Cover Letter

A great resume is half the battle. To improve your positive impression of your candidacy, you should also write a cover letter. What is more, you should do this every time you submit your resume for positions in different companies. This letter is an excellent opportunity to tell why you are worthy of a high-paying position, what values you can offer the company, and how you will be useful if assigned to this role.

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Start Job Hunting

We're almost there. All you have to do is find suitable vacancies on global and South African job portals. Below you can see the list of the websites for your South African job hunting. On each of the sites, you will find current openings, plus use the built-in functionality to post your resume so that potential employers can contact you themselves.

  • CareerJet
  • CareerJunction.co.za
  • Careers24
  • JobMail
  • BestJobs.co.za
  • PNet
  • JobVine


Even though the South African economy is specific, and the unemployment rate is high, the country still needs well-trained specialists and is ready to pay more than decently for their work. If you have a university degree, finding a well-paid job in this country will not be so difficult. However, even the absence of an academic degree is not a deal-breaker. You can master any profession if you put in enough effort. Use this article as a guide to action, and don't forget the importance of your resume and cover letter in the hiring process.

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