Only 28% of Africa’s workforce earns a wage

A new survey by PwC revealed that only 28% of Africa’s workforce earns a wage, with even fewer being able to pay their monthly bills on a regular basis. 

PwC released a report titled Africa at Work which surveyed workers from South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, Morocco, and Nigeria. 

The accounting firm outlined the poor state of employment on the continent, with little progress made in the last two decades. 

Africa’s young population provides the continent with a substantial workforce that can be leveraged to drive economic growth. 

However, of the 382 million people strong workforce, only 28% earn a wage. This is only up 4% on 2000 levels. 

This is reflected in the fact that most of Africa’s workforce is employed in agriculture, where employment is seasonal and irregular. 

PwC estimates that 58% of the continent’s workers are employed in agriculture. 

Strangely, 25% of respondents said they have taken up two jobs, reflecting the lack of skills in the African workforce and the increasing pressure of the rising cost of living on workers. 

Many have to take additional jobs to maintain their lifestyle, with inflation rising markedly in 2022.

5% of respondents said they could not pay their bills most of the time, with another 19% saying that they struggle to pay their bills monthly. 

Only 27% of workers across South Africa, Algeria, Kenya, Morocco, and Nigeria said they earn enough to pay the bills and still have enough to save. 

Source: PwC

This has made the African workforce increasingly negative about their financial outlook. 

Respondents attributed this to the rising cost of living, increases in interest rates, and declining purchasing power. 

Thus, according to PwC, the African workforce is responding by becoming more demanding. 

Employees are more likely to ask for a raise, up to 55%, versus 21% in the previous year. They are also more likely to ask for a promotion. 

Crucially, workers in Africa are also more likely to change employers, with 37% expressing willingness to change their company. This is over double the previous year. 

However, this is a global phenomenon, with job satisfaction levels in Africa on par with PwC’s global research. 


Top JSE indices