Salaries in South Africa can vary tremendously depending on your profession, as well as what industry you are working in. Professionals who have sought after qualifications to offer, can expect to be paid extremely well, however for unskilled workers, life in South Africa is not so rosy. Salaries are low, the unemployment rate is extremely high and poverty is rampant. Unskilled workers as a whole earn very low salaries and life is hard. For a country that has a horrifically high unemployment rate, it is very hard for many families to put bread on the table, but for those who have the qualifications and skills required by specific industries, salaries can be very good and they can have a fair amount of job security.

According to an article by AFKInsider, on the best paying jobs in South Africa, Petroleum Engineers are high up in the food chain when it comes to the big earners. According to the article, Petroleum Engineers in South Africa are currently earning around ZAR572,600 (USD49,008). Petroleum Engineers are generally involved with crude oil or natural gas, and the activities related to obtaining or producing them. The article was published in January, and states that the salaries are based on data from 2013 and 2014. With the oil industry being as unstable and volatile as it is, it would be interesting to see if this figure has changed in the last couple of months.

Petroleum Engineers are according to the article amongst the top earners in South Africa, along with Actuaries ZAR598,055 (USD51,186), Air Traffic Controllers ZAR583,450 (USD49,972), Computer and Information Systems Managers ZAR587,230 (USD50,626), Doctors and Specialists ZAR476,000 to ZAR616,000 (USD40,898 – USD52,926), Accountants and Auditors ZAR476,000 to ZAR672,000 (USD41,036 – USD57,738), Management Consultants ZAR392,000 to ZAR672,000 (USD33,680 – USD57,738), Lawyers ZAR643,440 to ZAR672,000 (USD55,448 – USD57,738), Pilot and Flight Engineers ZAR695,800 (USD59,960) and Software Engineers ZAR1,200,000 (USD103,103).

Mining Engineers in South Africa as a whole have a lot harder time than those in some other regions of the world. The mining industry in South Africa has been rocked with unrest and strikes in recent years, which has caused a tremendous amount of insecurity for all of those working in the industry. Globally the industry has also been bad with many mining companies having been forced to lay off workers, so life for all in mining worldwide has not been easy in recent years, but for those in mining in South Africa, not only have they been hard hit by job losses because the industry is so down, but the unrest and strikes have aggravated things tremendously in South Africa.

I thought it would be interesting for those in the mining industry to get a comparison as to how Mining Engineers in South Africa’s salaries compare to other professionals, mainly in comparison to Petroleum Engineers. Please note that this information is taken entirely from the salaries of the Mining Engineers in South Africa who have completed our salary survey.

According to the results of our recent salary survey, a Mining Engineering graduate with less than a years’ experience can expect to earn around ZAR69,000 (USD5,729) on the 25%ile, around ZAR150,000 (USD12,455) on the median and around ZAR250,000 ($20,759 USD) on the 75%ile. These figures are all base pay, and do not include benefits of any sorts.

A Mining Engineer in South Africa with 1 – 5 years’ work experience, can expect that their salary will increase quite dramatically and according to those who have completed our salary survey, can expect to earn on the 25%ile ZAR458,500 (USD38,073) per annum, a median of ZAR757,000 (USD62,860) per annum and on the 75%ile ZAR105,0000 (USD87,191) per annum. These salaries are also all worked on base pay, and do not include benefits of any sorts.

Senior Mining Engineers in South Africa, which would be those with 10 years plus experience, who completed our salary survey are earning on the 25%ile ZAR805,500 (USD66,833) , a median of ZAR1,000,000 (USD83,039) and on the 75%ile ZAR1,200,000 (USD99,647). These salaries are also all worked on base pay, and do not include benefits of any sorts.

Please keep in mind that these salaries are taken entirely from the results of the Mining Engineers in South Africa who have completed our salary survey.

4 Responses to “How do Mining Engineer salaries compare to other professionals in South Africa”

  1. Josh Abdurahman

    Dear Susan, None of the mining companies publish the rates of pay to their unskilled workers. Would you have any wage scales in the gold/diamond/coal/pgm industries? And are these unskilled workers paid any superannuation contribution? Josh (VP of the Australia Africa Business Council)

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Josh. Thanks for the feedback I can certainly have a look and see what information I can find on unskilled workers. Are you specifically looking for South Africa?

  2. mthekeli unathi

    i’m currently doing grade 12 right now and my dream is to become a mining engineering or a geologist,how can i fulfil my dream?

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Mthekeli. It is always great to hear when somebody has such an obvious passion for the mining industry. If you are still at school and wanting to pursue a career as a mining engineer, you need to ensure that you are taking subjects at school that would be required to study a degree in mining engineering. The subjects that are most relevant and normally a prerequisite are maths and science. Both of these you would need to pass with good marks. You would then need to go to university and study a degree in mining engineering. Degrees in engineering are typically at least 4 years, and if you want to do your masters or honors it can take longer. Good luck in your chosen field. Regards. Susan.


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