South Africans earning less than three years ago

70% of South Africans are earning the same or less than they did three years ago – and they’re less confident in the economy than ever.

The 2023 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor (OMSIM) revealed that, while there have been some positive shifts in personal earnings, 70% of respondents are earning the same or less than they did in 2020. 

“With the inflationary environment, this means that the majority of working South Africans have less income in real terms,” according to the report.

The 2023 OMSIM revealed the following about respondents’ current incomes compared to what they earned in 2020:

  • 8% of respondents are earning significantly less
  • 19% are earning a bit less
  • 43% are earning the same
  • 30% are earning more 

The report also found that confidence in the South African economy is currently at the lowest it has ever been. 

Only 27% of respondents said they feel confident about the local economy, with female respondents reporting the lowest confidence.

Respondents earning between R40,000 and R59,999 reported the highest confidence levels at 30%. Respondents aged 18 to 29 and respondents aged 60 and older also had the most confidence at 30%.

Source: 2023 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor

While resilience and optimism remain high, the 2023 OMSIM found that the individual improving outlook seen post-Covid-19 has paused.

Only 71% of respondents believe things will improve over the next six months, compared to 72% in 2022.

Old Mutual’s head of knowledge and insights, Vuyokazi Mabude, said that, despite the ongoing financial pressure, South Africans remain resilient and are saving.

However, they are struggling to manage short-term and long-term priorities. 

“The top 3 savings goals are, primarily for retirement, building emergency buffer savings, and paying off debt,” said Mabude. 

“To increase household income, South Africans are holding down several jobs. Polyjobbers make up 50% of this market, with more young workers (18 to 29 years old) becoming part of this growing trend.”

The number of young “polyjobbers” is up from 60% in 2022 to 70% in 2023, with many using social media to supplement their incomes. 

“As consumers have moved to reduce costs, the short-term insurance sector and medical schemes have been impacted, with cover being reduced as consumers trim monthly premiums to help increase household income.” 

Source: 2023 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor


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