OfferZen published their Software Developer Salaries for 2020

A lot has changed since the last developer salary article comparing Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2019. Entire companies have gone remote, budgets have been reviewed, and teams have been restructured in order to adapt to the rapid changes brought about by COVID-19. Using data from placements made on their platform, OfferZen would like to give more insights into developer salaries based on their marketplace over the last year. Here are their findings.

Hiring activity on OfferZen has recovered to pre-COVID levels

In April, hiring activity on OfferZen dropped by more than 25% when compared to last year. This shows the extent to which companies paused their hiring in response to South Africa’s lockdown. However, OfferZen has since seen a recovery in this activity and are now seeing some of the busiest weeks of hiring on the platform ever. While OfferZen saw a rise in company activity with regards to hiring for remote roles this year, it is too soon to say whether this will continue to increase and persist into the future. The impact of remote work requires further analysis and is not covered in this article.

How did developer salaries in Pretoria compare to Johannesburg and Cape Town?

Since the last salary article in 2019 comparing Johannesburg and Cape Town, hundreds of developers have found jobs through OfferZen and the presence in Pretoria has grown by 129%. That is why Pretoria is included in this year’s analysis.

When looking at what developers at different experience levels earned in the three cities, developers with 2-4 years of experience in Pretoria earned on average R33.5K which is less than developers in Cape Town, but more than developers in Johannesburg who earned R31.4K per month on average.

This trend changes as experience levels increase – with developers in Pretoria having earned less on average than developers in both Johannesburg and Cape Town from 4 years of experience onwards. The starkest difference is at the 6-10 year experience level, where developers in Pretoria earned an average of R51K while their peers in Johannesburg earned R61K – an average of 19% more.

Developer salaries per year of experience with quartiles

In the graph below, we’ve also included the 25th and 75th percentile salaries to give further context on the distribution of our data.

Junior developers on OfferZen earned the most in Cape Town

Last year, OfferZen found that junior developers earned more in Cape Town than they did in Johannesburg. In 2020, it seems that the trend remained the same. At R27.5K, junior developers with 0-2 years of experience in Cape Town earned 10% more than developers in Johannesburg. Interestingly, Junior developers in Pretoria were the second-highest earners at R25.5K per month, marginally surpassing Johannesburg juniors who averaged at R25K.


Senior developers earned more in Johannesburg – until the 10-year mark

At senior experience levels, the tables are turned: More experienced developers on OfferZen earned more in Johannesburg than developers in Cape Town. Capetonian developers with 6-10 years of experience earned R58.3K whereas Johannesburg developers earned R61K on average.


However, this changes when it comes to developers with 10+ years of experience. At this experience level, developers in Cape Town earned on average 7.7% more than their Johannesburg counterparts.

OfferZen Developers in Johannesburg (still) had more purchasing power in 2020

Last year OfferZen took into account the cost of living in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and found that, on average, developers in Johannesburg had more purchasing power than developers in Cape Town.

They did this comparison again this year and used Numbeo to adjust for the cost of living. OfferZen found that, when compared to Johannesburg, it is 8% more expensive to live in Cape Town, but 5% cheaper to live in Pretoria. The cost of living includes rent, groceries, restaurants and consumer prices.

When they looked at the different cities after adjusting for cost of living, OfferZen found that earning an average of R53.5K in Johannesburg is equivalent to earning R58K in Cape Town whereas earning R46.9K in Pretoria is equivalent to earning R49.2K in Johannesburg.

In summary

After a pretty rough year for many of us, it’s exciting to see that companies on OfferZen are back in the tech hiring game. If anything, this year has only highlighted that the tech industry has bounced back faster than many other sectors.

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 take into consideration the nature of work, perks, and other contextual factors like tech stack or industry.

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. OfferZen 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 on OfferZen.

OfferZen is a curated marketplace, where they pre-screen candidates for quality. This means that the data from this platform will vary from other resources like State of the Developer Nation report which is based on survey responses from over 3000 developers in the South African tech community. OfferZen’s second State of the Developer Nation report, based on this year’s survey responses, will still be released in early in 2021 so stay tuned!

Source: OfferZen

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