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Getting a bonus this year? Consider yourself lucky!

The Jack Hammer’s Bonus and Salary Survey indicates that senior professionals in the corporate environment of South Africa are taking the realities of the country’s commercial and economic situation on board.

56% of these senior professionals indicates they expect very little in variable pay (bonusses / incentives) by end of 2019. 33% expects no salary increase during 2020.

Relevant expectations are the lowest they have been in the past four years, according to the annual survey. Expectations steadily dropped since 2016, with 77% of senior professionals banking on a bonus in line with, or above the previous year. Optimism declined to 66% in 2017.

“It is clear that reality is hitting home now, with professionals accepting that if a company and the economy is under stress and profitability is lower, everyone is going to feel the pain,” says Advaita Naidoo, COO at Jack Hammer, Africa.

Naidoo says the main concerns raised remained political factors and poor management of state-owned enterprises, high unemployment levels and retrenchment, as well as a perceived lack of capacity-building in emerging skills disciplines.

Poor growth in remuneration is not only a local phenomenon. According to the WorldatWork 2019-2020 Salary Budget Survey, American salary budgets are projected to rise by an average of 3,3% in 2020. Salary-increase budgets for US employers are projected to grow next year by just 0,1% above the actual average budget increase for 2019, confirming that wage growth is not accelerating much despite record-low unemployment.

On the other hand, several local respondents in the Jack Hammer survey remained positive about South Africa’s potential, and hopeful that promises about curbing corruption will start to materialise, along with renewed foreign confidence and investment into the country.

And while the vast majority of respondents from all demographics again indicated that they would consider moving abroad, the trend could be reaching a plateau.

This year, 79% said they would move, compared to 82% last year, and 76% in 2017, which saw a massive jump from 29% in 2016.


Information obtained from Personal Finance, 6 November 2019.

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