Top 20 highest paying jobs in South Africa

We live in a fast-changing world, some jobs have become meaningless with some gaining momentum in value and demand. With advanced technology, a lot of jobs have been automated, meaning there’s a need to step up in your career field and meet the current standards.

South Africa is one of the well-developed countries in Africa, its economy is twice better as many African countries. It has jobs for people with and without qualifications, and interestingly some jobs are the highest paying in the country.

Being well informed about the highest paying jobs in South Africa will assist you in planning a better future while pursuing a career.

In no particular order, we have a list of the top 20 highest paying jobs. Earnings may vary depending on work experience, competencies, and certifications.

1. Group/Regional CFO

Group/Regional CFOs are killing it. They top the chart on the highest paid professionals. Their primary role is to be a strong partner for the president participating in all strategic meetings, setting targets, and implementing changes within the region.

They earn an annual salary of R5 million.

2. VP of Supply Chain – Supply Chain & Logistics

Vice presidents (VPs) of supply chain management are important in the successful running of the business as they are responsible for managing all crucial aspects of the supply chain processes.

They make a living of R3.8 million p/a.

3. VP HR / Chief HR Officer

A chief human resources officer (CHRO) oversees all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations policies, practices, and operations for an organisation.

They earn an annual salary of about R3.2 million.

4. Finance Director

A finance Director oversees all financial activities, reporting on revenue, training accounting staff, budgeting, disbursing funds to departments, managing risk, implementing policies, and improving financial processes.

They earn R3.5 million annually.

5. Software Engineer

Software Engineers (especially Java, C#, iOS, Android, and PHP) are currently in demand internationally. Their role involves the application of software engineering principles to design, develop, test, maintain, and evaluate computer software.

They usually have a degree in Computer Science and Programming. One can acquire specific software engineer skills online by taking online courses and watching videos on YouTube to advance their skills.

A software engineer can earn about R1.2 million annually.

6. VP of Procurement

The VP of procurement work closely with business units, leading centralised direct and indirect sourcing, and procurement efforts. They are tasked to lead procurement efforts to efficiently and effectively enable business units and functional partners to maximize the value they receive from suppliers to meet their objectives.

VP of procurement make an earning of R2.8 million p/a.

7. Specialist Doctor

South Africa’s medical specialists working for the government and private sector make a stable income. They are highly skilled professionals who specialise in a particular medical field. These may include Cardiology, Gynaecology, Dentist, Neurology, and all those in charge of infectious disease and controls.

Qualifying to be a specialist doctor such as a Cardiologist is not only hard and demanding but, very expensive hence they are high earners.

Depending on speciality and professional level, specialist doctors earn between R476 000 to R616 000 p/a.

8. Lawyer

Lawyers are always in demand where business is involved as they offer legal advice and understanding where necessary.

A lawyer with extensive years in practice earns more but, the starting salary ranges from R643 440 to R655 000 p/a.

9. Chartered Accountant

Chartered Accountant (CA) is a certified professional that assist businesses to remain profitable and compliant with government laws and regulations. They audit accounts, offer financial advice and provide financial records to clients.

To qualify as a CA in South Africa you will have to hold a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting or a degree in Accounting Science, or any CA (SA) undergrad qualification at a SAICA accredited university. In addition to that, you will have to complete and pass the CA(SA) board examinations.

The journey is indeed long but, the income that comes with all the hard work is rewarding. An entry- level CA earns an estimated salary of R489 000 p/a, while a mid-level professional earns an average income of R605 000 p/a.

10. Actuary

Actuaries are problem solvers; they use their mathematical skills to measure the probability and risk of future events. This is a high-demand profession because of the shortage of actuaries in the country and qualifying for it can take up to 9 years.

The role requires a strong background in asset management, liability management, business, and analytical skills.

Experienced Actuaries receive approximately R920 000p/a while a starter earns an average of R597 000 p/a.

11. Pilot

Qualifying as a Pilot involves a lot of training, certification, and a CPL license with a minimum of 200 hours in air flight, making this profession more expensive and time-consuming.

Their salary depends on the type of flight they fly, the company they work for, and the qualifications they hold. A commercial pilot in South Africa earns an average of R690 000 p/a.

12. Air Traffic Controller

Air Traffic Controllers work hand in hand with Pilots helping them navigate in the skies during bad weather, making sure they maintain a safe distance with other aircraft in the sky and on the ground.

Qualified air controllers in South Africa have to go through training from Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS). They earn about R583 450 annually.

13. IT Manager

With the ICT industry advancements, IT Managers stand a chance of being the biggest gainers. They play an important role in managing all the tech-related operations, research strategies, and building the most cost-effective and efficient systems.

Their salary is estimated to be around R620 230 p/a which has a huge potential to increase as one grows in the profession.

14. Architect

Architecture is a growing field that needs critical thinkers with extensive training experience. An architect plans and designs the construction of buildings, making sure that they consider public safety.

An entry-level architecture with 1- 4 years of experience earns an average of R277 000 p/a while one with 5-9 years of experience earns a higher average income of R715 000 p/a.

15. Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineering requires intelligence and training, it is the combination of innovation and exploration. Petroleum engineers locate natural gas and oil reserves under the earth’s surface.

They receive an annual salary of about R694 700.

16. Sales Manager

A sales manager assists with meeting a company’s customer acquisition and revenue growth targets by keeping the company competitive and innovative. They are responsible for maximizing sales team potential, crafting sales plans, and justifying those to plans to the upper management.

Sales managers’ incomes vary depending on the kind of sales department they lead, the companies they work for, and their experience in the field.

An entry-level sales manager with 1-4 years of experience earns an average income of R155 000 p/a, while a mid-level sales manager with 5-9 years of experience earns an average income of R317 000 p/a.

17. Management Consultant

Management Consultants play a huge role in assisting companies grow by coming up with new and innovative ways to solve problems.

A management consultant can earn about R392 000 p/a.

18. Engineer

Engineering is a broad field, it consists of civil engineers, mechanical engineers and mining, surveyors, and electrical engineers. Their duties vary, from manipulating, maintenance of machinery, and repair. Measuring suitable construction land, building, and planning for settlements.

The highest salary engineers make annually is R934 861 with the lowest being R309 629 p/a.

19. Digital Marketing Specialist

The marketing industry keeps on changing, every day there is something new to learn and try. Most companies have shifted from traditional marketing to digital marketing using digital channels such as social media, search engine rankings, and email to generate leads and brand awareness.

This profession is fairly new, and some people advance their skills by taking online short courses from platforms such as Udemy and Google Academy. YouTube also does the trick.

An entry-level digital marketer earns an average of R212 000 p/a.

20. Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are creatives, they communicate through art. They use computer software or hand to create visual images or designs that can be used for social media posts, website mock-up, mobile-app mock-up, web banners, and newsletters.

This profession is not certification-based; one can be a top-notch graphic designer by learning how to design online. There are a thousand courses and tutorials online that they can watch that offer guidance on how to get started and advance your design skills using different design tools.

Graphic designers receive an average annual salary of R246 000.