Employers appear to still be willing to pay for top talent – but the discrepancy in salaries paid to top staff and entry-level positions is significant.

This is one of the findings from Kelly's first-ever bi-annual salary survey. The volatile economic situation has hit the job market particularly hard and, in order, to get an accurate picture as to what is happening at the coal face, Kelly has insituted the bi-annual survey to supplement its annual offering.
Kelly’s executive: business analysis, Charley Steadman explains that an annual survey was insufficient to capture the often spontaneous changes that could happen within a workplace during a recession.
“Kelly prides itself in its ability to keep abreast of local and international trends, providing our clients with smart talent management tools to leverage greater productivity and performance,” says Steadman. “Our salary survey is one such tool, but we recognise that, in this unstable job market, things can change almost overnight. That is why this year we are producing two surveys – halfway and at the end of the year – to give a more accurate picture of the current situation.”
The figures under review are permanent placements made by Kelly between January and June 2009.
An example of the payment discrepancy is an office admin/assistant staff in Johannesburg North can attract a lucrative salary (at R19 000.00, this is the highest salary earned across the regions), yet the average for that job in that region is R7 234.00. This places theregion in ninth position, lagging after Johannesburg Central with an average salary of R8 504.00 (and a top of R13 480.00),  Eastern Cape with an average salary of R8 172.00, Pretoria with R8 150.00 and Mpumalanga with R8 071.00. The Free State came in at the bottom in this category when ranked on average salaries, yet top earners in this region commanded the second highest salary, at R15 000.00.
Steadman says this discrepancy could be indicative of the increasing difficulty of recruiting quality staff in times of a skills shortage, as well as a consequence of lower staff turnover. Notwithstanding that some employers do add additional duties to the position which in turn means that position automatically demands more.
As a region, Johannesburg North predominates in the top two positions. On average, executive secretaries command the highest average salaries (topped by Johannesburg North and Pretoria with average salaries of R17 500.00 and R15 357.00 respectively), followed closely by bookkeepers (topped again in Johannesburg North and Pretoria with average salaries of R14 083.00 and R12 282.00  respectively).
Johannesburg North also rewards its accounts clerks well (R13 136.00 on average compared with second-ranked Johannesburg Central on R11 202.00 and bottom-ranked Free State on R5 667.00) and its Receptionists (with R8 869.00, paying slightly more than second-ranked Johannesburg Central with R8 860.00 and third-ranked Pretoria, with R7 277.00).
Sales representatives in Johannesburg North also generally secure better average salaries (R12 176.00), however top talent in KwaZulu Natal are rewarded with a top salary of R28 000.00, compared with Johannesburg North’s top salary of R16 000.00.
Similarly, credit controllers in Johannesburg North would be better off working in the East Rand, where R13 184.00 is the average salary compared with the R12 961.00. Moreover, credit controllers who excel in their field of command also demand better salaries on the East Rand (R18 133.00), in Pretoria (R17 144.00) and in Johannesburg Central (R17 000.00), compared with Johannesburg North’s comparatively low top salary of R15 541.00.
The Free State and Mpumalanga regions generally ranked at the bottom of the salary scale, with some notable exceptions; data processors in the Free State, for example, attracted the highest average salary (R8 237.00), yet its highest offered salary of R11 643.00 falls way short of Pretoria’s top salary of R16 271.00. East Rand pays the lowest average salary for data processors, paying only R5 700.00 on average.
Secretaries in Central Johannesburg were paid, on average, the best with R13 425.00, followed by North Johannesburg on R12 167.00 and East Rand on R10 547.00. Secretaries in KwaZulu Natal were paid the least, on average, earning only R8 240.00.