The Commonwealth Universities Association recently conducted a survey on salaries for university staff in Commonwealth countries. The results of the survey showed that South African universities ranked third in terms of academic remuneration. After comparing UNIA`s university staff compensation packages with the other South African universities that participated in the survey, UNISA ranked highest. The situation changes slightly when wage data are presented as a percentage of each institution`s total expenditure. Unisa remains in the lead after spending 74% in 2018 on workers` pay and only 25% on goods and services. It is important to note that Unisa is the only distance learning institution that makes its cost structure very different from others. Secondly, the University of Limpopo received a remuneration of 70% of the total expenses. In fiscal year 2018, South Africa`s 26 universities spent R 40 billion on workers` wages. This represents 61% of total expenditure1, as shown in the latest report of university financial statistics. These include positions such as salaries, pension benefits, medical assistance and bonuses. The Enterprise Agreement and the guide to the new agreement can be accessed by clicking on the following symbols: As mentioned above, the average expenditure for employees of the 26 institutions – per cent of total expenditure – was 61%. For the private sector, this figure is much lower. According to data for the second quarter of 20183, formal industry spent 14% of total personnel spending.
Why is the proportion of universities so high? In addition to the fact that universities are very different from business, it is important to note that universities need a large number of highly qualified people for teaching and research, many with PhDs, many of whom need higher salaries than workers with lower academic qualifications. University activities focus on the production of intellectual knowledge, not physical goods. As a result, workers` compensation expenditures are greater than the purchase of goods and services. The Durban-based Technical University of Mangosuthu made the lowest contribution to workers` compensation (48%), but the largest contribution to the purchase of goods and services (45%). A closer look at the data shows that Mangosuthu increased spending on goods and services by 33%, from R263 million in 2017 to R30 million in 2018. The increase in expenses was mainly due to the payment of rents for student housing. The University of South Africa (Unisa) was the main gold in 2018 and committed just over R5 billion to employee compensation. This represents 13% of the total wage bill for all universities. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that Unisa is the most generous institution in terms of personnel. Unisa is also the largest university in the country and writes a third of the million students2. A heavier load often leads to more expenses (click on the image to enlarge it).
At UniSA, we offer a number of benefits and mechanisms to stimulate employee attraction and engagement. Our enterprise agreements offer a competitive level of compensation, supported by a comprehensive set of employment policies that reinforce our commitment to a great work environment.