South Africa has a major skills shortage, and qualified professionals are continuing to leave in search of better opportunities overseas.
Young professionals previously told MyBroadband that they enjoyed better job opportunities, travel, salaries, and quality of life after leaving South Africa.
“I am earning almost three-times as much as I was in South Africa, and although it is a lot more expensive to live here, I am able to save more money and travel a lot more than I did when I was living in South Africa,” one young IT professional who now lives overseas told MyBroadband.
To determine how lucrative job opportunities are overseas compared to South Africa, we compared the average salaries of popular IT positions in South Africa and in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands.
It is important to note that as we are comparing the average national salary in South Africa with the city average in the Netherlands, the former would be expected to be slightly lower in an even payment scenario to accommodate for less urban areas.
Amsterdam is a popular destination for South African emigrants, however, making it important to inspect the salaries available in the city specifically.
IT salaries comparison
We used figures from Indeed, PayScale, and Glassdoor to compare average pay in both South Africa and Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam salary figures are listed in Euros and are paired with a converted rand figure based on the exchange rate at the time of writing.
The average salaries for 10 popular IT jobs in South Africa and Amsterdam are below.
|IT Salary Comparison|
|Job||South Africa||Amsterdam (Netherlands)|
|Computer Support Specialist||R216,000||€43,325 (R706,818)|
|Web Developer||R227,076||€36,466 (R594,918)|
|System Administrator||R231,787||€47,500 (R774,931)|
|Database Administrator||R308,872||€64,871 (R1,058,326)|
|IT Manager||R368,112||€70,637 (R1,152,395)|
|Software Engineer||R401,676||€59,244 (R966,526)|
|Information Security Analyst||R509,892||€66,256 (R1,080,922)|
|DevOps Engineer||R575,250||€60,205 (R982,204)|
|Data Engineer||R592,079||€52,737 (R860,368)|
|Senior Solutions Architect||R804,509||€81,043 (R1,322,162)|
Taxes and net earnings
Amsterdam has a higher average salary, but it is also important to account for taxes and spending power.
The amount of tax you pay in South Africa and the Netherlands depends on how much you earn – placing you within different tax brackets.
The Netherlands individual income tax brackets have been refined year-over-year, and the country now boasts a strikingly simple tax structure.
Below are the tax rates for the Netherlands for 2020, which consist of only two tax brackets.
|Netherlands tax rates|
|€0 – €68,507||37.35%|
Below are the 2021 tax bands for South African citizens, according to SARS.
|SA Tax Bands (1 March 2020 – 28 February 2021)|
|Up to R205,900||18% of taxable income|
|R205,901 – R321,600||R37,062 + 26% of taxable income above R205,900|
|R321,601 – R445,100||R67,144 + 31% of taxable income above R321,600|
|R445,101 – R584,200||R105,429 + 36% of taxable income above R445,100|
|R584,201 – R744,800||R155,505 + 39% of taxable income above R584,200|
|R744,801 – R1,577,300||R218,139 + 41% of taxable income above R744,800|
|R1,577,300 and above||R559,464 + 45% of taxable income above R1,577,300|
The cost of living is more expensive in Amsterdam than it is in all cities across South Africa, which means that even though you have a higher salary, you might not have as much spending ability.
The Big Mac Index is by no means an accurate tool for noting currency misalignment, but it can provide a rough idea of how currencies are valued against one another.
The index compares the price of a Big Mac in multiple countries across the world to provide a rough estimate of spending power.
The cheaper a Big Mac is in a country, the more purchasing power people in that country have.
Below is the spending power in South Africa, the Netherlands, and the United States, according to the Big Mac Index for 2019.
The graph shows that purchasing power in South Africa is much higher than both the Netherlands and the United States.