14 Of The Worst-Paying Jobs In South Africa

14 Of The Worst-Paying Jobs In South Africa

1 of 16

No matter what it is you do, if you apply yourself for success, you will reach success.

Believe it or not, someone actually got rich telling the rest of the world that, whether it’s true or not.

Thomas Stanley is the author of the bestseller, “The Millionaire Next Door,” and made himself a fortune pointing out that the rich are often in mundane businesses and usually aren’t the guys walking around in suits or at country clubs, according to a report in FreeMoneyFinance. They are scrap-metal dealers and dry cleaners and septic tank business owners, he said. They read trade journals such as “Poultry Times” and “Water and Irrigation.” And all of them had to learn their jobs somewhere.

You won’t get rich working the jobs listed below — in fact they are guaranteed to keep you poor if it’s your only source of income. It’s what you do with what you learn on these jobs that could turn you into the millionaire next door.

AFKInsider took a look at some of the best-paying jobs in South Africa, and now we’re looking at the other end of the spectrum — some of the worst-paying jobs in the country. These are jobs that apparently can pay paltry salaries because there are more people willing to do them than there are jobs.

Turns out there are a lot of people doing well and getting rich running businesses large and small that others consider mundane, boring, beneath them or downright disgusting, Stanley said.

Successful professionals out there are successful because they are the best at what they do, but a university education in South Africa is no guarantee that you’ll find a job or make a living doing anything close to what you thought you wanted to do when you grew up.

Here are some jobs you wont see on any critical skills lists. Salary Explorer ranked 897 jobs in South Africa for average annual and monthly salaries. These ones ranked dead last: 12 of the worst-paying jobs in South Africa.

Sources: SalaryExplorerBusinessTechFreeMoneyFinance.

129301027 fine dining cook south africa getty

Fine dining cook, annual salary: 60,000 rand ($4912.59USD)

It’s hard to believe that the person helping prepare your food at any one of the thousands of amazing South African restaurants you’ll find all over the country is earning less than $5000 a year on average. This job includes working in food, hospitality, catering and tourism. The latter is one of the most important drivers of the South African economy.



Paralegal, annual salary: 60,000 ($4912.59USD)

Annual salaries for paralegals in South Africa range from 45,982-to-288,583 rand with the median salary being 112,000 rand, according to Payscale.com.

A gardener cuts the grass in front of the FNB Stadium near Soweto. Getty 454443461
A gardener cuts the grass in front of the FNB Stadium near Soweto.

Gardener, annual salary: 59,220 rand ($4848.73USD)

Domestic workers have rights in South Africa and their salaries are governed by minimum wages — provided they’re legal. Gardeners are often employed as domestic workers at people’s homes, but gardeners also get work in farming.

Sources: SalaryExplorer, MyWage.co.za

513437967 dispatcher getty

Dispatcher, annual salary: 58,000 rand ($4,747.93USD)

Dispatchers may work with drivers or couriers involved in delivery and transportation.


144858515 Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu Natal Getty
Convention Centre, Durban, KwaZulu Natal

Conference services manager, annual salary: 47,520 rand ($3891.14USD)

Working in food, hospitality, tourism and catering, this job involves doing liaison work between the meeting planner and various hotel departments. A recent job listing placed by a South African hotel said, “university/college degree in a related discipline preferred.”

skywise ticket sales desksouthafrica.to

Reservations sales agent, annual salary: 46,800 rand ($3832.18USD)

Reservationists working for the airlines and aviation industries are not going to earn much money on average, but this work could open doors to other jobs that involve better pay — and travel.

pipefitter Getty

Pipefitter, annual salary: 42,000 rand ($3437.97USD)

Pipefitters work in the fields of construction, building and installation, and they often get their start as helpers or apprentices. The work involves repairing, maintaining, assembling and fabricating mechanical piping systems. Other verbs include cutting, threading, grooving, bending and welding. It’s not glamorous work but someone with an entrepreneurial spirit could end up being the millionaire next door.

Medical office Getty
Medical office

Operating room scheduler, annual salary: 42,000 rand ($3437.97USD)

In the health and medical fields, this work includes entering and updating data, interacting with clinical and surgical staff including residents and outside physicians, and monitoring schedules.


Keyboard and data entry, annual salary: 42,000 rand ($3437.97USD)

FBL-AFR-2013-NGR-TRAINING A cleaner at Soccer City in Soweto Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
A cleaner at Soccer City in Soweto
Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Cleaner, annual salary: 40,140 rand ($3285.720USD)

If you’re doing cleaning and housekeeping for a hotel or business in South Africa, you may be at a slight advantage financially over domestic cleaners — but not by much. They both pay poorly.

Photo: Dana Sanchez
Photo: Dana Sanchez

Domestic housekeepers, annual salary: 39,000 rand ($3192.57USD)

Domestic workers in South Africa make up a large portion of the South African workforce – more than 1 million people, according to Statistics SA. The work of cleaners and housekeepers often falls to women, and includes cooking and being a nanny — watching children, driving children, and looking after the sick, aged or disabled.

An estimated one in six working women in South Africa is a housekeeper or nanny, most likely black, and working for a white employer, although the number of black employers is growing, according to a report in TheGuardian.

Domestic housekeepers played a crucial role in the history of South African labor, and still do in the post-apartheid economy.


Sources: TheGuardian., Statistics SA.

Graphic design team Photo: jobmail.co.za
Graphic design team
Photo: jobmail.co.za

Finisher, annual salary: 37,200 rand ($3045.22USD)

This job could include working in advertising, graphic design and event management.

SOUTHAFRICANSAUSAGE-June 6, 2003- Florence Meat Supplies, Damian Goriup (owner's son) 'stuffs' their Making boerewors Photo: Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Making boerewors
Photo: Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Butchers and slaughterers, annual salary: 36,000 rand ($2947.83USD)

Photo: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Clerk, annual salary: 33,600 rand ($2750.55USD)

The average salary for a clerk is the lowest-paying job out of 897 jobs ranked in South Africa, according to SalaryExplorer. The work could involve mail sorting, administration, reception and secretarial work. Like anything else you look at, it could represent a spectrum of possibilities from a foot in the door — a gateway job — to a dead end. It all depends how you look at it.