What South Africa’s richest people studied and which sector they work in

New World Wealth has released its latest report on South Africa, detailing what the country’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) studied and which sectors they work in.

“Wealth refers to the net assets of a person. It includes all their assets – property, cash, equities, business interests – less any liabilities,” stated the report.

HNWIs are then individuals with wealth of US$1 million or more.

“There are approximately 38,400 HNWIs living in South Africa, each with net assets of US$1 million or more,” the report stated.

Part of the report looked at what these individuals studied, where they studied, and what sectors they worked in to accumulate their wealth.

This information is detailed in the tables below.

Area of study

The table below details the most common degrees and certifications held by South Africa’s HNWIs.

Law and finance degrees were the standout areas of study.

Type of Degree / Area of Study Percentage of HNWIs
Law (LLB, LLM) 27%
Finance (MBA, B.Com, Business Science, CFA) 19%
Accounting (Chartered Accountant) 10%
Medicine and Science 7%
Computers and IT 6%
Engineering 5%
Actuarial 3%
Other 23%


The table below details the top universities producing South Africa’s HNWIs.

The University of Cape Town and Wits University were the clear leaders in this ranking.

University Percentage of HNWIs
University of Cape Town 20%
Wits University 18%
Stellenbosch University 12%
Rhodes University 8%
University of Pretoria 6%
University of Johannesburg 4%
US Universities 4%
UK Universities 3%
Other 15%

Areas of work

The table below details the main industries in which South African HNWIs have acquired their wealth.

The financial and professionals services sector dominated this category.

This sector includes banking, law firms, consulting firms, fund managers, and wealth managers.

Sector Percentage of HNWIs
Financial and Professional Services 32%
Real Estate 14%
Tech and Telecoms 9%
Basic Materials 8%
Diversified 8%
Healthcare 7%
Retail 5%
Media 4%
Manufacturing 3%
Transport and Logistics 3%
Hotels and Leisure 2%

Now read: South Africa’s biggest GDP decline since the Great Depression expected

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What South Africa’s richest people studied and which sector they work in