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Take-home pay plummets in October, says BankservAfrica

Published Nov 26, 2021


THE South African private sector Take-home pay showed the steepest monthly decline in October since September 2019 and also reflected little change in the typical salary of formal sector workers in the last two years, according to the latest BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI)

BankservAfrica’s Head of Stakeholder Engagements Shergeran Naidoo said this week that the real take-home pay declined by 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis last month compared with the 4.1 percent growth registered in September.

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There were a number of reasons for this fall. In October last year, more casual workers were in the process of returning to work, which resulted in the high BTPI base. In contrast, data reflected a smaller pool of payments to casual workers, which contributed to the sharp fall between last month and September this year.

The Municipal Elections Monday, which was declared as a public holiday, was said to have also seen some receiving their pay after the beginning of this month, lowering the BTPI numbers for last month.

Chief economist at Mike Schüssler said as the three-month moving average of the number of people paid stayed relatively stable, they believed some of the October payments occurred in September.

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The BTPI data has also been adjusted, and as a result, the average take-home pay for September increased by 4.1 percent and not the 8.3 percent previously reported.

“The nominalised take-home pay for October was R15 042 compared with the R15 266 recorded in September. In real terms, the average take-home pay was R12 412 in October,” Naidoo said.

According to the BTPI data, South Africa’s take-home pay has stayed between R12 000 and R13 150 over the past 25 months, indicating salaries in the formal sector have not changed drastically over the years. In the past four months, the typical pay has remained below R11 000. Furthermore, the real typical pay last month reflected the highest decline since 2018.

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BankservAfrica said this trend suggested that South Africa had lost many high salary jobs and salaries for high earners in the public service or private sector industries had not adjusted for the inflation increases. “We expect this trend to reverse from November 2021 to January 2022 when the seasonal bonuses are paid. But, we will need to wait well into the new year to see if this reflects in the data,” Schüssler said.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive month, private pensions increased under 10 percent in nominal terms. The real growth remained above 4 percent a year ago, according to the BankservAfrica Private Pensions Index (BPPI).

Schüssler said after 10 months of real private pensions rising well above 5 percent, the last two months have seen increases below 5 percent in real terms. The rising inflation level and lower number of pensioners with less than R247 500 in their banked private pensions – may be the reasons for this”.

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Importantly, the company said it appeared the number of pensioners measured in the BPPI continued to be more than 650 000. There had also been four months of the actual number of pensioners increasing (despite no real extra payments as seen in February this year).

“The average nominal pension paid into a bank account via BankservAfrica was R9 298 in October. In real terms, the BPPI reached R7 652, the lowest level in five months and mainly on the back of rising inflation,” Naidoo said.

The BPPI was the only one in the world and the longest-running pension income indicator. By June next year, the index will have a 10-year history of pensions paid to pensioners.

For 14 consecutive months, private pensions have outperformed take-home pay, as recorded in the BankservAfrica data.


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