MBA.co.za Home

An MBA OverviewChoosing the right MBAApplying for your MBAMBA School DirectoryMBA PerspectivesMBA ResourcesMBA News & EventsMBA Careers



MBA.co.za Salary Survey
In an effort to determine the impact of an MBA degree on earnings and career prospects, MBA.co.za recently launched its first ever salary survey.

The survey attracted a total of 467 respondents. Although most of the CHE-accredited business schools participated, the majority of graduates obtained their MBA degree at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, Henley Management College, the University of Stellenbosch Business School or Milpark Business School.

Jonathan Cook, executive director at GIBS, says while it is a concern that some schools are not as well represented as others, the survey still gives an indication that the MBA, on the whole, is a successful investment. However, he does caution against drawing conclusions when looking at certain aspects of the results where the sample sizes are relatively small.

Prof Eon Smit, former director of the University of Stellenbosch Business School, feels the results provide a useful snapshot of the MBA salary trends, but notes that income surveys are notoriously biased in the sense that those who do well report back and those who don’t do well will often opt against responding.

“Be that as it may, the MBA.co.za study is valuable in that it confirms the findings of research conducted elsewhere in the world – the market does indeed reward the MBA degree in real terms and rewards it substantially. The message for the industry is very positive.”

Salaries
According to the survey, the average respondent currently earns an annual salary of R560 285 and the maximum reported salary is R3 000 000. Interestingly, the average pre-MBA salary earned is R297 731 and the average salary earned at the first job post-MBA is R393 783.

SALARY COMPARISONS
Salary
Minimum
Average*
Maximum
Annual salary pre MBA:
R7 200
R297 731
R1 500 000
Annual salary at 1st job post MBA:
R12 000
R393 783
R1 800 000
Current annual salary:
R90 000
R560 285
R3 000 000
*Extreme and outlier values were removed when calculating the average salary figures

The survey indicates that the average annual salary increased by 32% between the periods before obtaining an MBA and the first job after obtaining the degree, which Smit says equates to a real annual increase of almost 20%. What may be more noteworthy is that the average annual salary increased by 42% between the first job after obtaining an MBA and the current job. However, Cook believes this second measure should not be too heavily weighted, as the periods in which job changes take place are not included in the data.

“Not surprisingly, there is quite a large differential between the first and fourth quartiles,” says Cook. “This could be explained in part by the variances in working experience, which range from as little as two years to 40 years.”

SALARY COMPARISONS (QUARTILES & PERCENTILES)
Quartile
Lower Quartile
Upper Quartile
90th Percentile
Annual salary pre MBA:
R180 000
R400 000
R500 000
Annual salary at 1st job post MBA:
R240 000
R510 000
R680 000
Current annual salary:
R387 250
R750 000
R950 000
Lower Quartile: 75% of respondents earn more and 25% earn less than this figure
Upper Quartile: 25% of respondents earn more and 75% earn less than this figure
90th Percentile: 10% of respondents earn more and 90% earn less than this figure

Experience
While the survey reveals that respondents with the most work experience earn the most, position and industry are also important considerations, with certain jobs and industries traditionally paying more than others.

ANNUAL SALARY ACCORDING TO EXPERIENCE
Experience
Minimum
Median
Maximum
1 - 2 years (2)
R264 000
R307 500
R351 000
3 - 4 years (3)
R297 000
R440 000
R600 000
5 - 6 years (12)
R126 000
R389 000
R650 000
7 - 8 years (35)
R120 000
R440 000
R1 100 000
9 - 10 years 48)
R90 000
R420 000
R1 750 000
11 - 12 years (48)  
R139 302
R500 000
R1 600 000
13 - 14 years (24)  
R220 000
R550 000
R980 000
15 - 16 years (56)  
R97 000
R579 000
R1 600 000
17 - 18 years (39)  
R240 000
R550 000
R1 665 000
19 - 20 years (57)  
R158 650
R600 000
R3 000 000
> 20 years (139)
R150 000
R600 000
R3 000 000
Median: 50% of respondents earn more and 50% earn less than this figure

ANNUAL SALARY ACCORDING TO POSITION
Position
Minimum
Median
Maximum
Academic (14)
R97 000
R213 500
R600 000
Accountant (8)
R90 000
R222 825
R450 000
Analyst (6)
R297 000
R438 350
R700 000
CEO (15)
R204 000
R800 000
R3 000 000
Consultant (23)
R158 650
R500 000
R2 200 000
COO (5)
R500 000
R810 000
R1 450 000
Engineer (6)
R240 000
R557 000
R1 000 000
Executive/Director (66)
R139 302
R707 500
R3 000 000
Financial Manager (16)
R180 000
R499 600
R695 000
General Manager (35)
R160 000
R600 000
R1 665 000
Head of Department (18)
R180 000
R560 000
R1 750 000
HR Manager (5)
R240 000
R453 516
R701 000
Managing Director (28)
R372 000
R925 000
R2 000 000
Marketing Director/Manager (10)
R286 000
R480 000
R1 200 000
Project Manager (19)
R160 000
R400 000
R900 000
Sales Manager (16)
R350 000
R540 000
R1 100 000
Self-employed (18)
R300 000
R575 000
R1 500 000
Senior Manager (132)
R120 000
R500 000
R1 500 000
Median: 50% of respondents earn more and 50% earn less than this figure

ANNUAL SALARY ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY
Industry
Minimum
Median
Maximum
Advertising / Marketing / Public Relations (7)
R230 000
R720 000
R1 200 000
Agriculture (12)
R300 000
R545 000
R2 000 000
Arts / Entertainment (2)
R205 000
R372 500
R540 000
Automotive (15)
R324 000
R520 000
R1 665 000
Construction / Architecture (6)
R240 000
R539 000
R1 500 000
Consulting (19)
R240 000
R600 000
R2 200 000
Education / Training (24)
R97 000
R310 000
R1 000 000
Engineering (19)
R240 000
R451 300
R980 000
Environment (2)
R240 000
R345 000
R450 000
Finance / Banking / Insurance / Accounting (99)
R150 000
R600 000
R3 000 000
Government (14)
R90 000
R380 000
R1 200 000
Information Technology (27)
R300 000
R700 000
R1 500 000
Legal (3)
R264 000
R550 000
R1 500 000
Manufacturing (53)
R120 000
R542 000
R2 100 000
Media / Publishing / Broadcasting (8)
R240 000
R446 758
R687 000
Medical / Dental / Healthcare / Pharmaceutical (21)
R220 000
R450 000
R1300 000
Mining / Petrochemical (27)
R260 000
R600 000
R1 200 000
Non-Governmental Organisation i.e. non-profit (7)
R160 000
R460 000
R553 350
Real Estate / Property (5)
R180 000
R600 000
R3 000 000
Retail / Wholesale (20)
R220 000
R560 000
R2 100 000
Service (11)
R275 000
R800 000
R1 750 000
Sports (1)
R155 000
R155 000
R155 000
Telecommunications (16)
R158 650
R416 000
R1 400 000
Transport / Logistics (15)
R250 000
R550 000
R1 500 000
Travel / Tourism / Lodging (9)
R160 000
R480 000
R1 200 000
Utilities / Parastatals (6)
R204 000
R517 000
R986 000
Median: 50% of respondents earn more and 50% earn less than this figure

Age
Survey respondents falling within the 40 to 49 age bracket earn the highest annual salaries on average, with almost 30 individuals earning R1 000 000 or more.

ANNUAL SALARY ACCORDING TO AGE
Age
Minimum
Median
Maximum
< 25 (0)
-
-
-
25 – 29 (21)
R217 000
R390 000
R700 000
30 – 39 (200)
R97 000
R500 000
R1 750 000
40 – 49 (191)
R90 000
R600 000
R3 000 000
50 – 59 (48)
R150 000
R572 500
R3 000 000
> 59 (3)
R500 000
R570 000
R1 080 000
Median: 50% of respondents earn more and 50% earn less than this figure

Gender
Smit says the percentage of female to male respondents is fairly representative of female representation at most schools, and the number of women signing up for the MBA degree is rising steadily.

ANNUAL SALARY ACCORDING TO GENDER
Gender
Minimum
Median
Maximum
Male (368)
R90 000
R550 000
R3 000 000
Female (95)
R97 000
R480 000
R1 600 000
Median: 50% of respondents earn more and 50% earn less than this figure

Cook finds it interesting that men are still out-earning women by a considerable margin (23%). “This is confirmed by other surveys I’ve seen. However, there is a possibility that women are in lower paying positions. In order to give real meaning to the findings, we need to compare men and women in the same job category.”

Mobility
A concern employers often raise about sending their managers on an MBA programme is that they will leave the company once they’ve qualified. However, the survey indicates that job mobility after obtaining the qualification is minimal.

JOBS & PROMOTIONS
Gender
Minimum
Average*
Maximum
Number of jobs since obtaining an MBA
0
1
20
Number of promotions since obtaining your MBA
0
1
10
*Extreme and outlier values were removed when calculating the average number of job and promotion figures

Not all about the money
Smit says it is important to look beyond the financial rewards associated with an MBA degree. “You cannot put a monetary value on learning and personal development. This sentiment is backed up by the fact that 80% of respondents felt the degree had helped to advance their career.”

Cook agrees. “It’s good to provide measures that will give people an indicator of the financial return on what is a substantial investment, particularly in terms of time. But the financial return is only part of the picture; the non-financial rewards are considerable and include personal rewards like increased confidence, the ability to express one’s point of view, think critically, and analyse and solve problems. The benefits for the employer are a manager with a much wider world view and a broader perspective on business.

“I would hope that salary isn’t the only motivator for doing an MBA, because if it is, the student will find it a long, hard slog. True, it should provide that benefit, but there’s so much more, not least of which is to grow capacity.”

Implied in the data is that the MBA in itself doesn’t necessarily lead to increased salary, but that the increased performance which the MBA enables can do so,” says Cook. “Applicants keen to get an MBA to make them manage more effectively have the right idea. If they expect the MBA to do it for them without any effort on their part, they’re going to be very disappointed.”

Click here to view a complete summary of the MBA.co.za Salary Survey data.
Share: Facebook
Facebook Twitter
Twitter LinkedIn
LinkedIn Email
Email
Share
Other Print
Print Newsletter
Newsletter


About MBA.co.zaMBA NewsletterTerms of UseContact Us