ITWeb reveals the state of IT salaries in 2023
On average, South Africa’s IT professionals earn R840 000 a year, while those in the C-suite take home close to R2 million.
This is one of the biggest findings of ITWeb’s 2023 Salary Survey, which was conducted during the last quarter of 2022 and first quarter of 2023. There were 2 174 valid responses from IT professionals, ranging from entry- to C-level.
The gender ratio of respondents is similar to the results of the first salary survey conducted by ITWeb almost 20 years ago – 80% of survey respondents are male and 19% female, with 1% opting not to disclose their gender.
Most survey participants (85%) are permanently employed, 8% are contractors and 6% are business owners or self-employed, with the remaining 2% being freelancers.
While the average take home salary for local IT professionals is pegged at R840 000 per annum, respondents employed in global companies earned, on average, R228 000 more per annum than those working for South African-based companies.
The study reveals the gap between top and bottom earners is substantial – from R1.4 million for senior managers, to R360 000 for entry-level roles. Mid-managers are just under the million-mark at R947 000.
Gender pay gap
According to the survey, the local ICT industry remains male-dominated. On average, across all roles, men earn R176 000 more than women.
Reflecting on the gender pay gap, Zandile Mkwanazi, CEO of GirlCode says: “Positive change in the gender pay gap requires a multifaceted approach. Encouraging transparency in salary discussions, focusing on skills and responsibilities rather than previous earnings, and implementing fair pay practices are steps in the right direction.”
Lindiwe Matlali, founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, notes the gender pay gap remains a concern in many industries, including ICT.
“Addressing the gender pay gap requires a combination of transparent pay policies, regular audits, leadership commitment and cultural changes within organisations.”
Western Cape pays slightly more
According to the survey, the province that pays the best is the Western Cape, which trumps Gauteng by a small margin, but they both pay more than the overall median (R840 000), at R887 000 and R881 000, respectively.
Financial services is the top-paying sector, but respondents from the mining and automotive sectors were also up there, reporting an above-million-rand median.
In the C-suite, CIOs and CTOs earn over R2 million a year, the study finds.
At a general staff level, enterprise, technical and solutions architects dominate the list of best-paid IT professionals.
Asked to single out a critical skill, people who are versed in new technologies – containers, artificial intelligence (AI), DevOps, robotics, automation – are in the top 10 salary-wise.
Just under 50% of respondents have a tertiary diploma or degree, and a further 14% hold an honours degree – with the latter reporting earnings of over a million rand per annum.
Huge skills demand
Commenting on the overall findings, Adrian Hinchcliffe, ITWeb group editor-in-chief, says the ITWeb Salary Survey shows IT skills are in strong demand, especially in areas like enterprise architecture, DevOps, automation and AI, and container technology.
“Among the top earners, unsurprisingly, both CIOs and CTOs are taking home the most, at over R2 million per year. Age, experience, education and seniority are obviously factors that lead to higher salaries. However, we’ve also seen that skills in the older technologies, such as Cobol, are commanding strong salaries, undoubtedly as workers with these skills are more senior and would typically command larger salaries.”
According to Hinchcliffe, it is somewhat worrying, as the workers with these essential skills are nearing retirement age, but these languages are not as attractive to learn, causing a skills shortage in this area.
He adds: “The gender pay gap is very real, with men earning an average R176 000 per year more than their female colleagues (R864 000 vs R688 000). Based on the survey results, men and women were more evenly represented in middle management, a near 50/50 split; however, a higher percentage of male respondents (19%) hold senior management positions than women (16%).
“Those who have a remote-first working arrangement earn the most money, averaging over R900 000, and the IT professionals based in the Western Cape reported the highest median salary of R887 000, compared to R881 000 in Gauteng.
“The big development with the ITWeb Salary Survey this year is our interactive benchmarking tool, available on ITWeb, that lets employers and IT professionals add in various criteria and determine the value of a specific position, or work out their own worth.
“Based on input from over 2 100 respondents, there is a good amount of data for the industry to be able to pull from,” he concludes.
Detailed results report