Middle and top earners cream it

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The salaries of middle- to high-income earners continued to grow despite “significant” stagnation in the economy, according to the latest BankservAfrica disposable salary index (BDSI) released yesterday.

Monthly salaries of over R100 000 were not considered when compiling the BDSI, Brad Gillis, the chief executive for regulated products at BankservAfrica, said.

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 is exactly R11 200, which is 7.1 percent higher than a year ago. This means salaries have grown by 1 percent in real terms when inflation and other factors are taken into account,” he said.

“This is in line with data over the last 10 months, where South Africa has seen positive real salary increases, although this growth has remained under 1 percent since the beginning of 2014.”

Total salary payouts increased on average by 1.2 percent in real terms. That was, however, mainly on the back of higher payments to those earning more than R100 000 a month, he said.

And the March payments in the highest salary category monitored (more than R100 000 a month), 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 earlier.

Mike Schüssler, the chief economist at economists.co.za, said the increase in salaries among high-income earners at least partly offset 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 in April appeared to have declined by 3.5 percent compared with a year earlier.

The median (or typical) take-home pay, over the BankservAfrica system, remained between R8 000 and R9 000.

Salaries of more than R9 000 a month went to 46.2 percent of earners, while just over 41 percent took home more than R10 000 a month.

“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.

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