South Africa is often seen as “slow to the party” when it comes to developments in the Internet or digital space. This isn’t necessarily true, and the country has generated large-scale firms that have sold to even bigger international players in recent years.
The industry has definitely advanced, one reason being that the skills needed to grow it are now more readily available. Digital training firm Webgrowth attests to that, with CEO Neil Pursey commenting that around 56% of all students are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
A foray of research into digital jobs in South Africa on job aggregator Adzuna shows that the average salary for digital vacancies has grown from around R330,000 in 2017 to R420,562 in February 2018. While it dipped in March 2018 to R393,153, it gained back to R410,509 in mid-April 2018. The results are deemed quite accurate since logic dictates that digital jobs are almost all advertised online and not offline.
Such large growth is often indicative of an industry that is coming of age, where skills are more readily available and more qualified individuals exist with better qualifications and experience.
However, the average salary in Gauteng has crept up faster to R456,023, much higher than the Western Cape, where R352,400 was recorded, supporting the old argument that Joburg whips Cape Town on the payscales.
Partly, this could be due to the high amount of senior roles at high salaries now available in the north of South Africa. A full sixth (17%) of the digital opportunities listed were in the range of R700,000 and above on an annual salary basis. Job adverts for example for “Head of Digital” and “Senior Digital Consultant” have not been as forthcoming in 2014 as they are now. Again, the percentage was 20% in Gauteng, while only 13% of vacancies were in the highest salary bracket in the Cape.
Many digital “gurus” apparently feel that despite salaries, the Cape is the place to be, with more digital company activity down south. The numbers felt differently, and Gauteng led with almost 1,250 job opportunities, while the Western Cape trailed with 892 and KZN slumped in at 152. The other provinces do not feature in the numbers much at all.
This effectively translates into Gauteng hosting over 50% of the countries digital jobs. It also demonstrates how Gauteng together with the Western Cape and KZN claim over 97% of the country’s digital vacancies. Of all the job ads, the most prominent positions were either in digital marketing (just over 20%) or fitted somehow into the digital media space (around 15%).
For those now despondent that perhaps they are not earning what they should be, or living and working where they should be, consolation lies in the fact that the digital industry generally earns above the national average salary, by around 20%.
Digital skills have grown phenomenally in South Africa, for many reasons. More companies are spending more each year on advertising and other digital exploits, pushing the requirements for skills higher, while more experienced and better-qualified job seekers are coming to the fore, having trained at institutions such as Webgrowth. South Africa’s digital future is bright!