IT salary comparison — South Africa vs Australia and the US

South Africans in the IT sector earn less on average than residents of the US, Australia, and the UK working in the same industry, a MyBroadband analysis has shown. However, the cost of living in these countries is also substantially higher.

Comparing Information Technology (IT) salaries from South Africa to countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States makes this clear, with annual wages differing by as much as 79%.

While the Covid-19 pandemic made emigration more challenging over the last year, several countries, including the UK, have recently opened their borders to vaccinated South Africans.

MyBroadband previously spoke to an IT professional who had recently moved overseas.

“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,” they said.

A year later, we have compared South African IT salaries with those in the UK, the US, and Australia.

Using figures from Payscale and Indeed, we compared the average salaries across ten job titles between the four countries.

Salaries are listed in local currency, with the amounts converted to South African rands in brackets.

The South African rand figures were calculated based on current exchange rates at the time of writing.

IT Salary Comparison
Job South Africa UK US Australia
Technical Support Specialist R295,626 £27,817 (R555,756) $50,604 (R733,024) AU$68,460 (R742,730)
Web Developer R183,736 £25,943 (R518,316) $60,307 (R873,577) AU$61,897 (R671,528)
Database Administrator R195,415 £29,597 (R591,319) $73,183 (R1,060,092) AU$71,483 (R775,527)
Systems Administrator R227,253 £25,680 (R513,061) $63,098 (R914,006) AU$69,287 (R751,703)
Information Security Analyst R305,388 £32,821 (R655,731) $73,087 (R1,058,702) AU$87,058 (R944,502)
Software Engineer R371,058 £37,984 (R758,883) $87,694 (R1,270,291) AU$79,053 (R857,655)
DevOps Engineer R405,351 £42,513 (R849,368) $96,736 (R1,401,269) AU$100,962 (R1,095,348)
Data Engineer R449,030 £40,360 (R806,353) $92,650 (R1,342,082) AU$98,363 (R1,067,151)
IT Manager R491,999 £40,517 (R809,490) $88,763 (R1,285,776) AU$103,875 (R1,126,952)
Senior Solutions Architect R984,099 £75,053 (R1,499,485) $136,893 (R1,982,964) AU$157,067 (R1,704,038)

Living costs

IT salaries in the US, UK, and Australia are significantly higher than in South Africa. However, the cost of living in SA is far lower than in the other three countries.

This means that purchasing power in South Africa is higher than in the US, UK, and Australia.

A good indication of purchasing power is the Big Mac Index — which compares the average price (in US Dollars) of a Big Mac around the world.

According to the 2021 Big Mac Index, South Africans pay an average of $2.28 (R33.06) for a Big Mac, while residents of the UK, US, and Australia pay $4.75 (R68.87), $5.65 (R81.92), and $4.79 (R69.45), respectively.

Tax Brackets

It is also important to consider tax rates for each of the countries compared.

The United States, Australia, and South Africa use scaling tax brackets to determine deductions based on income.

The United Kingdom uses fixed tax rates based on earnings.

The 2021/22 financial year tax brackets for each country compared are summarised in the following tables. It should be noted that the US tax rates shown are only for federal taxes and exclude state income taxes.

South African Tax Brackets 2021/22
Up to R216,200 18% of taxable income
R216,201 – R337,800 R38,916 + 26% of taxable income above 216 200
R337,801 – R467,500 R70,532 + 31% of taxable income above 337 800
R467,501 – R613,600 R110,739 + 36% of taxable income above 467 500
R613,601 – R782,200 R163,335 + 39% of taxable income above 613 600
R782,201 – R1,656,600 R229,089 + 41% of taxable income above 782 200
Over R1,656,601 R587,593 + 45% of taxable income above 1 656 600
UK Tax Brackets 1 March 2021 – 28 February 2022
Up to £12,570 0%
£12,571 – £50,270 20%
£50,271 – £150,000 40%
Over £150,000 45%
US Federal Tax Brackets 2021/22*
Up to $9,950 10%
$9,951 – $40,525 12%
$40,526 – $86,375 22%
$86,376 – $164,925 24%
$164,926 – $209,425 32%
$209,426 – $523,600 35%
Over $523,601 37%
*Tax rates for single individuals. Full tax rates are available here. Excludes state income taxes.
Australian Tax Brackets 2021/22*
Up to AU$120,000 32.5% of taxable income
$120,001 – $180,000 AU$39,000 + 37% of taxable income above AU$120,000
Over $180,001 AU$61,200 + 45% of taxable income above AU$180,000
*Tax rates for foreign residents. Full tax rates are available here.

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IT salary comparison — South Africa vs Australia and the US