Cape Town-based junior developers earn higher salaries

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Stephen van der Heijden, VP of growth at OfferZen.
Stephen van der Heijden, VP of growth at OfferZen.

Cape Town leads the salary ranking for South African junior software developers in the 0 to two-year category experience, followed by those living in Pretoria, while Johannesburg-based developers take the lowest pay cheque.

This is one of the findings of a study compiled by tech talent marketplace OfferZen.

The report sheds light on software developers’ salaries, based on a survey of over 3 500 respondents from OfferZen’s software community. ‘Salary’ refers to the gross monthly salary (before tax) that developers on OfferZen were hired at this year, at the time of signing their contract, and excludes other incentives like equity or bonuses.

According to the report, Cape Town-based developers with working experience of 0 to two years earn the highest starting salary of R27 500, while those based in Pretoria earn an average of R26 645, with Johannesburg-based junior developers ranking at third place with an average starting salary of R24 950.

When looking at what developers at different experience levels earned in the three cities, developers with two to four years of experience in Cape Town also lead the salary ranking category. Mother City-based developers with this level of experience earn R36 300 on average, compared to R33 500 in Pretoria and R31 400 in Johannesburg.

However, at the four- to six-year experience level, the tables are turned: Johannesburg-based developers earn the most at an average of R48 600, followed by R46 600 in Cape Town and R43 400 in Pretoria.

This trend is also seen for developers in the six- to 10-year experience level, with developers commanding an average salary of R61 000 in Johannesburg, R58 300 in Cape Town and R51 000 in Pretoria.

OfferZen says it is experiencing strong recovery in demand for tech talent, after hiring activity dropped by more than 25% in April this year compared to the same period in 2019.

“The last few months were some of the busiest in terms of hiring activity on the OfferZen platform,” says Stephen van der Heijden, VP of growth at OfferZen.

“Companies seem to be settling into remote working and have resumed their tech hiring. While we’ve seen a rise in company hiring activity for remote roles, it’s too soon to say whether this is a permanent shift.”

While many South African companies halted their recruitment processes during the economic downturn presented by the COVID-19 crisis, in August some recruiters told ITWeb that the demand for IT skills remained higher than other sectors during the national lockdown.

“While hiring activity slowed down significantly for IT professionals across most skill-sets since the beginning of lockdown, demand for software developers, data analysis and data warehousing skills seemed unaffected and remained stable. Other IT skills sets which are sought-after include data analysis and data warehousing skills, as well as business analysis skills,” Marcus Grove, marketing and communications manager at job-seeker and recruiter portal Career Junction, said at the time.

When answering OfferZen’s survey about what makes a job offer attractive to developers, based on their responses, the sweet spot includes the option to work remotely.

Developers reported feeling higher levels of autonomy and freedom when they have a remote working option because they have more control over their time and where they work. The second most mentioned reason for wanting remote work when choosing a job is a decrease in time spent commuting, notes the survey.

When it comes to cost of living, the survey found Johannesburg-based developers enjoy higher purchasing power when compared to developers in Cape Town.

Using cost of living database Numbeo to adjust for the cost of living, OfferZen found that, when compared to Johannesburg, it is 8% more expensive to live in Cape Town, but 5% cheaper to live in Pretoria. Cost of living includes rent, groceries, restaurants and consumer prices.

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