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Tech Career Insights: Developer Salaries 2022: Cape Town, Johannesburg & Pretoria

Developer Salaries 2022: Cape Town, Johannesburg & Pretoria

By Josh Nel

While 2022 has seen the hottest-ever hiring market cool down, demand for software engineers remains high. We can see that playing out in developer salaries: Senior developers in Pretoria have seen impressive increases since 2021, as have juniors in Cape Town.

Using data from hires made on the OfferZen platform, here are our insights into software engineer salaries across Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria over the past year.

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Junior developers in Cape Town have seen the biggest salary increases in 2022

Average Software Engineer Salaries in 2021 vs 2022

Cape Town Johannesburg Pretoria
Years of Experience 2021 2022 2021 2022 2021 2022
0-2 R26,867 R31,109 R26,397 R26,764 R27,217 R26,998
2-4 R38,360 R40,419 R36,468 R39,029 R37,077 R41,450
4-6 R49,049 R51,285 R47,390 R47,869 R46,909 R43,969
6-10 R59,111 R65,847 R61,178 R63,795 R57,635 R65,105
10+ R81,279 R82,892 R75,581 R80,688 R78,320 R87,769

Juniors haven’t seen much change since 2021 across the board: Despite demand for developers remaining high, junior developers aren’t the main benefactors. Junior developers in Pretoria are earning roughly 0.8% less than they were last year, while those in Johannesburg have seen a modest increase of 1.4%.

Since 2021, salaries for juniors in South Africa have decreased by an average of 3.6%. A primary cause for this decrease is the reduced demand for less experienced developers following a shift to remote work and more companies requiring senior skills.

It’s not all doom and gloom for juniors in South Africa though: Developers with fewer than two years of experience in Cape Town have seen their average salaries increase by a healthy 15.8% to overtake Pretoria as the best-paying city for junior developers in South Africa.

Developers with two to four years of experience have seen higher salary increases than intermediates

Developers with at least two years of experience under their belts have seen healthy increases over the past year:

Pretoria leads the way with an impressive 11.8%, followed by Johannesburg at 7% and Cape Town at 5.2%.

Developers with four to six years of experience haven’t been so lucky: While intermediate developers in Cape Town have seen an average increase of 4.6%, those based in Johannesburg have only seen a modest 1.1% rise.

On the other end, intermediate developers in Pretoria saw a 6.3% decrease in their average salaries since 2021.

Average Software Engineer Salaries in Cape Town

Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R25,000 R31,109 R35,000
2-4 R30,000 R40,419 R50,000
4-6 R42,000 R51,285 R59,000
6-10 R50,000 R65,847 R75,000
10+ R65,000 R82,892 R97,500

Seniors in Pretoria are still seeing the most impressive growth

Senior developers with six to ten years of experience working in the country’s administrative capital have seen some of the most impressive increases since 2021:

Seniors in Pretoria have experienced an average increase of 13% in 2022, compared to 11.4% for those based in the Mother City and 4.3% for those in Johannesburg.

Pretoria’s impressive increases continue for developers with more than ten years of experience: Pretoria-based developers in this experience bracket have seen a 12.1% increase in their average salaries.

By comparison, seniors in Johannesburg have to settle for a 6.7% rise and those in Cape Town a meagre 2%.

In light of these changes, let’s have a look at which South African city currently pays the best software engineer salaries.

Developers in Johannesburg have the lowest average salaries:

Average Software Engineer Salaries in Johannesburg

Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R25,000 R26,764 R30,000
2-4 R30,000 R39,029 R45,000
4-6 R35,125 R47,869 R60,000
6-10 R50,715 R63,795 R78,750
10+ R71,500 R80,688 R88,875

Entry-level developers earn the most in Cape Town

Developers with fewer than two years of experience in the Mother City earn an average monthly salary of R31 109. This gives them a 15.2% lead over second-placed Pretoria and 16.2% higher than Johannesburg.

While Pretoria has to settle for second place for entry-level developers, it reclaims the top spot for developers with more than two years of experience.

Junior developers earn the most in Pretoria

Pretoria takes the top spot for developers with two to four years of experience with an average monthly salary of R41 450, 2.5% more than Cape Town.

Johannesburg remains in last place with an average of R39 029, roughly 5.8% less than Pretoria.

Intermediates earn the most in Cape Town

Cape Town re-established its lead among intermediate developers:

Developers with four to six years of experience based in the Mother City earn an average salary of R51 285.

Johannesburg takes second place with an average of R47 869, 6.7% less than Cape Town. Pretoria drops to third with an average of R43 969.

Pretoria is the best-paying city for developers with more than ten years of experience

Senior developers with six to ten years of experience earn the highest average salaries in South Africa’s legislative capital. Seniors in Cape Town earn an average of R65 447 per month.

Pretoria comes second with an average of R65 105, 2.1% ahead of Johannesburg’s R63 795.

Pretoria re-takes the lead among developers with more than ten years of experience, followed by Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Average Software Engineer Salaries in Pretoria

Years of Experience 25th Percentile Average 75th Percentile
0-2 R22,500 R26,998 R31,145
2-4 R35,000 R41,450 R49,375
4-6 R37,250 R43,969 R48,000
6-10 R48,000 R65,105 R73,000
10+ R65,750 R87,769 R96,125

Developers in Pretoria still have the most buying power

In 2021, we compared the cost of living in Cape Town and Pretoria to Johannesburg using data from Numbeo to adjust for the cost of living. The cost of living includes rent, groceries, restaurants and consumer prices.

We found that developers in Pretoria have 7% more buying power than those in Cape Town.

When looking at the data for 2022, the gap between Pretoria and Cape Town has widened. Developers in Pretoria now have 8.5% more spending power than those based in Cape Town. The gap between Johannesburg and Cape Town has also widened to 2.2%.

These differences in cost of living affect salary conversations between developers and potential employers.

For example, a developer working in Cape Town will expect a higher salary base because of the city’s higher cost of living. That would make it more expensive to offer a standout salary in the city.

On the other hand, Johannesburg’s lower cost of living can make it more affordable to offer candidates a standout offer.

It’s worth remembering at this stage that there’s more to a good salary than take-home pay. A comprehensive benefits package, such as medical aid or special allowances, can offset a higher cost of living and contribute to a standout offer.

Average Software Engineer Salaries Adjusted for Cost of Living

Years of Experience Johannesburg Cape Town (Adjusted) Pretoria (Adjusted)
0-2 R26,764 R28,808 R28,548
2-4 R39,029 R37,429 R41,259
4-6 R47,869 R50,270 R50,604
6-10 R63,795 R59,124 R67,795
10+ R80,688 R76,760 R85,688

Keep in mind

The insights of this article are based on OfferZen platform data and represent developers who were placed on the OfferZen platform, not the entire industry. We’ve also narrowed the focus of this article to include only salaries of software developers rather than roles like data scientists, product designers, and product managers also placed through OfferZen.

OfferZen is a curated marketplace, where we pre-screen candidates for quality. This means that the data from our platform will vary from other resources like our State of the Developer Nation report, which is based on survey responses from over 3200 developers in the South African tech community.

In this article, “salary” refers to the gross monthly salary (before tax) that developers on OfferZen were hired when signing their contracts. It excludes other incentives like equity or bonuses. Our platform data only reflects new placements made during the year.

Last but not least, it is always important to keep in mind that every individual’s context is different. At the end of the day, salary is a personal conversation that should take place between employee and employer and should consider the nature of work, perks and other contextual factors like tech stack or industry.

If you have any questions or suggestions for future analysis, feel free to leave a comment below. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our newsletter for more articles like this one.

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