IT salaries compared – South Africa vs Amsterdam

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%
Over €68,507 49.50%

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

Spending power

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.

Big Mac Index SA vs NED vs USA

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IT salaries compared – South Africa vs Amsterdam