When was the last time you searched for a job vacancy online? Yesterday, a week ago, a year ago? It doesn’t matter. What we’re discussing in this article isn’t a time-sensitive piece; instead, it’s an in-depth look at salary scales in South Africa.

How do you determine how much an employee – or potential employee – should be paid? It isn’t easy because it walks the line between emotion and financial fact: what the company can afford, the candidates’ expectations and the industry’s economic reality.

Having said this, employees should ideally be remunerated for the value they provide to your business. A salary that’s far below market value could affect employee motivation and, in turn, impact your business’s sustainability and growth. When searching through the job sites, it’s likely that next to ‘remuneration’, it said, ‘market-related. There are numerous factors underly this phrase. We’ll unpack this now, but essentially a tool called a salary scale is used to determine the market value of the job position being offered.

What is a salary scale?

This is very important for both employers and employees to understand fully.

Salary scales guide the range of wages/salaries you pay to hire an employee to perform a job role.

The lower end of the salary scale displays how much you would pay someone who meets the minimum requirements for the role – these are usually listed on the job post. The high end is how much you may pay someone who not only meets all the job specifications but exceeds them.

Salary bands

One of the primary elements that influence salary scales is pay bands. They are groups of positions that are paid within the same salary range. Salary scales are usually calculated through a combination of the average salary for a job vacancy, the location and the pay band into which the position fits.

Jobs are often grouped based on how much education, experience and responsibility employees will be expected to undertake. Pay bands generally have a minimum and maximum salary range to show the starting salary for the category and the maximum that someone with the specified duties should earn.

For potential employees: Don’t base your decision solely on the salary, have a holistic perspective.

While salary may be one of your application’s primary influencers, don’t let it become the ‘be-all-end-all’ factor. Consider the other benefits that the company offers, which may include isn’t necessarily limited to 

  • Flexible hours
  • Work remotely
  • Medical aid and provident fund
  • Enjoyable company culture
  • Performance bonus

We all want to make a decent living for ourselves; that’s not in dispute, but don’t let money cloud your judgement. However, if you feel that the remuneration seems too low for the position, you can speak to a reputable human resources company. They can determine whether you’re being offered less than comparable companies using a salary scale.

For new employers: Craft a salary competitive salary structure

Yes, we are living in economically challenging times, but employers should also have a holistic perspective. Offering below-market remuneration won’t attract the calibre of employees you need to help your business grow by creating a valuable team.

Therefore, you must present a reliable, competitive salary structure that will pique the attention of top talent. Whether you’re a fresh or seasoned employer, make sure that you consult HR specialists. They will provide you with sage advice that can be implemented into an effective HR strategy.

In conclusion, it can be deduced that employees’ worth should be based on all of the information mentioned above, working in synergy to obtain a result based on emotional and logical reasoning.

*Bonus content

As mentioned above, if you, as an employer, aren’t willing to pay market-related compensation, you’re not going to attract top talent. It’s that simple.

However, once you’ve decided on the appropriate salary band, have compiled all the necessary information for the job post, you’re going to start interviewing candidates. What if you’re offering an above-market salary but aren’t finding the right person for the job. It’s most likely the way you’re interviewing prospective candidates.

Once the applicant is sitting in front of you, they can’t be seen as the embodiment of the digital ‘job post’. You may have the best benefits and the top salary a company can offer. Still, if the candidate doesn’t believe you see the inherent value they could bring to the company, a sound salary structure based on a thorough salary scale analysis will not be enough.

I bring this to your attention because HR specialists can help you conduct candidate interviews as well.

Here’s a short excerpt from a previous article that discusses how to interview a job candidate properly.

“Consult a professional human resources company that is dedicated to drawing out the character, traits, and overall personality of the candidates sit in front of you. After speaking to Fio’s Head of Human Resources, Rory Theron, I was able to glean valuable insight about the RIGHT way to interview a potential staff member. The discussion is based on initially asking one simple question, ‘How should a potential employee interview be conducted?’

From the outset, forget about the ‘the glove either fits or it doesn’t’ mentality. In fact, start with a metaphorical blank canvas so that you can have a well-rounded idea of the big picture by the end of the interview; based on that outcome, you should have enough evidence to make an informed decision.

The point of the interview is to get to know the person behind the CV. Conducting an interview is an art; questions should be designed to directly, indirectly and subtly elicit responses that uncover whether the candidate has all the correct attributes to fulfil the job role successfully.”  Read the full article.

Fio’s HR team can assist you. We have decades of experience helping companies create and implement an objective salary scale that considers market-related compensation as well as the skills to ensure you hire the best talent available for the job.