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Legal Average Salaries in South Africa 2023

How much money does a person working in Legal make in South Africa?

Average Monthly Salary
40,500 ZAR
( 486,000 ZAR yearly)

All salary figures displayed here are per month except when noted otherwise.
All salary and compensation figures displayed here are gross salary figures, that is the salary before tax deductions. Because taxes may differ across sectors and locations, it is difficult to accurately calculate the net salary after tax for every career.

A person working in Legal in South Africa typically earns around 40,500 ZAR. Salaries range from 11,600 ZAR (lowest average) to 92,700 ZAR (highest average, actual maximum salary is higher).

Salary Variance

The provided figure represents the median compensation that encompasses housing, transportation, and other perks. The salaries within the Legal domain in South Africa exhibit significant discrepancies across various professions. In case you seek information about the remuneration of a specific position, please refer to the salaries listed below for respective job titles.

Salaries for specific jobs

Job TitleAverage Salary
Administrative Law Judge86,700 ZAR
Arbitrator41,600 ZAR
Associate Attorney43,400 ZAR
Attorney61,000 ZAR
Bailiff19,400 ZAR
Barrister17,300 ZAR
Blockchain Lawyer45,800 ZAR
Candidate Attorney35,600 ZAR
Conciliator31,100 ZAR
Contracts Associate20,200 ZAR
Contracts Manager36,100 ZAR
Contracts Negotiator28,800 ZAR
Contracts Specialist20,300 ZAR
Conveyancing Secretary17,000 ZAR
Corporate Counsel45,600 ZAR
Counsel46,800 ZAR
Court Clerk14,600 ZAR
Court Judicial Assistant24,300 ZAR
Court Liaison Specialist28,200 ZAR
Court Reporter23,200 ZAR
Court Representative19,500 ZAR
Crown Prosecution Service Lawyer83,800 ZAR
Data Privacy and Protection Lawyer58,100 ZAR
Digital Forensics Lawyer51,700 ZAR
E-discovery Lawyer60,500 ZAR
General Counsel84,900 ZAR
Genetics Lawyer68,300 ZAR
Immigration Executive41,900 ZAR
In House Counsel45,400 ZAR
Intellectual Property Lawyer61,400 ZAR
Intellectual Property Specialist31,100 ZAR
Judge Advocate69,500 ZAR
Law Clerk14,000 ZAR
Lawyer60,600 ZAR
Legal Administrative Assistant16,500 ZAR
Legal Advisor37,800 ZAR
Legal Assistant16,400 ZAR
Legal Associate30,600 ZAR
Legal Compliance Officer40,100 ZAR
Legal Consultant40,400 ZAR
Legal Consultant37,800 ZAR
Legal Content Writer33,100 ZAR
Legal Counsel44,800 ZAR
Legal Data Analyst34,000 ZAR
Legal Data Privacy Officer32,600 ZAR
Legal Editor29,100 ZAR
Legal Executive60,600 ZAR
Legal Executive Secretary17,000 ZAR
Legal IP Officer15,400 ZAR
Legal Officer19,400 ZAR
Legal Operations Manager67,300 ZAR
Legal Process Outsourcing Professional37,900 ZAR
Legal Project Manager75,900 ZAR
Legal Risk Analyst58,900 ZAR
Legal Secretary17,000 ZAR
Legal Services Director70,500 ZAR
Legal Services Manager70,700 ZAR
Legal Support Worker12,600 ZAR
Legal Technology Consultant29,500 ZAR
Legislative Liaison29,500 ZAR
Litigation Attorney81,400 ZAR
Litigation Paralegal37,900 ZAR
Litigation Support Specialist39,400 ZAR
Magistrate Judge93,000 ZAR
Paralegal23,500 ZAR
Patent Attorney48,100 ZAR
Privacy Compliance Officer32,300 ZAR
Privacy Lawyer56,000 ZAR
Social Media Lawyer50,000 ZAR
Staff Attorney48,100 ZAR
Venture Capital Lawyer69,000 ZAR
Web Content Lawyer49,100 ZAR

Legal Jobs Pay Scale and Salaries in South Africa

Median and salary distribution South Africa Legal monthly
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Salary Structure and Pay Scale Comparison

5% of people earn
44,500 ZAR or more
10% of people earn
36,300 to 44,500 ZAR
20% of people earn
18,300 ZAR or less
65% of people earn
18,300 to 36,300 ZAR
Minimum Salary
11,600 ZAR
36,500 ZAR
92,700 ZAR

Median Salary, maximum and minimum salary, minimum wage, starting salary, and the salary range

All salary figures displayed here are per month except when noted otherwise.
  • Salary Range, Minimum Wage, and Starting Salary

    Salaries in Legal in South Africa range from 11,600 ZAR (starting average salary) to 92,700 ZAR (maximum average salary, actual maximum is higher). To clarify, the number presented is not the legally mandated minimum wage. Rather, it represents the lowest figure reported in a salary survey that involved thousands of participants and professionals from across the entire country.

  • Median Salary

    The median income in the field of Legal is 36,500 ZAR, implying that half of the workforce in South Africa earns less than this figure, and the other half earns more. It represents the central value of salaries. As a rule of thumb, you would prefer to be part of the group earning above the median wage, situated on the right-hand side of the salary distribution chart.

  • Percentiles and Salary Scale

    Two values that are highly correlated with the median are the 25th and 75th percentiles. By examining the salary distribution diagram, it is possible to determine that 25% of individuals employed in Legal in South Africa earn less than 26,900 ZAR, while 75% of them earn more. Additionally, the diagram reveals that 75% of individuals earn less than 46,100 ZAR, while 25% earn more than that.

  • Pay Scale Structure

    Data was regrouped into brackets to provide a better understanding of what salaries can be expected. This approach was deemed more accurate than relying solely on the average salary, as it offers greater insights into the distribution of salaries in the field of Legal in South Africa. The analysis revealed that roughly 65% of all reported salaries fell within the range of 18,300 ZAR to 36,300 ZAR. Approximately 20% of salaries were below the 18,300 ZAR mark, while 10% ranged from 36,300 ZAR to 44,500 ZAR. Only 5% of individuals earned a gross salary of 44,500 ZAR or higher.

Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does a person's salary progress over time?

Salary Comparison By Experience Level
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The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally, the more years of experience the higher the wage.

Generally speaking, employees in Legal in South Africa having experience from two to five years earn on average 32% more than freshers and juniors across all industries and disciplines.

Professionals with experience of more than five years tend to earn on average 36% more than those with five years or less of work experience.

As you hit the ten years mark, the salary increases by 21% and an additional 14% for those who have crossed the 15 years mark.

Those figures are presented as guidelines only. The numbers become more significant if you consider one job title at a time.

Change in salary based on experience varies drastically from one location to another and depends hugely on the career field as well. The data displayed here is the combined average of many different jobs. To view accurate figures, choose a specific job title.
On average, a person's salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark.
* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Salary Comparison By Education

How does the education level affect your salary?

Salary Comparison By Education
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Change in salary based on education varies drastically from one location to another and depends hugely on the career field as well. The data displayed here is the combined average of multiple jobs. To view accurate figures, choose a specific job title.

It is well known that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income?

We compared the salaries of professionals at the same level but with different college degree levels across many jobs in Legal in South Africa, below are our findings.

Workers with a certificate or diploma earn on average 17% more than their peers who only reached the high school level.

Employees who earned a Bachelor's Degree earn 24% more than those who only managed to attain a certificate or diploma.

Professionals who attained a Master's Degree are awarded salaries that are 29% more than those with a Bachelor's Degree.

Finally, PhD holders earn 23% more than Master's Degree holders on average while doing the same job.

Is a Master's degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in South Africa costs anywhere from 156,000 ZAR to 469,000 ZAR and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.

Employees can't expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming they already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.

Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch to a higher-paying job. The numbers seem to support this tactic. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.

The decision really depends on the situation and experience among many other factors. Putting all variables aside, if a person can afford the costs of higher education then the return on investment is definitely worth it. Degree costs can be recovered roughly in a year or so.

Salary and Compensation Comparison By Gender / Legal / South Africa

Salary comparison by gender South Africa Legal monthly
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Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? In the field of Legal in South Africa, the average difference between the salary of male and female employees is 8%.

41,800 ZAR
38,700 ZAR
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Comparison By Gender in South Africa for all Careers

Salary comparison by gender monthly South Africa
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Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage / Legal / South Africa

How much are annual salary increments in South Africa for individuals working in Legal? How often do employees get salary raises?

Professionals working in Legal in South Africa are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 10% every 16 months. The national average annual increment for all professions combined is 8% granted to employees every 18 months.

Annual Salary Increment Rate South Africa Legal
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The figures provided here are averages of numbers. Those figures should be taken as general guidelines. Salary increments will vary from person to person and depend on many factors, but your performance and contribution to the success of the organization remain the most important factors in determining how much and how often you will be granted a raise.

South Africa / All Professions

Annual Salary Increment Rate South Africa
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The term Annual Salary Increase usually refers to the increase in 12 calendar month period, but because it is rare that people get their salaries reviewed exactly on the one-year mark, it is more meaningful to know the frequency and the rate at the time of the increase.

How to calculate the salary increment percentage?

The annual salary Increase in a calendar year (12 months) can be easily calculated as follows: Annual Salary Increase = Increase Rate x 12 / Increase Frequency

The average salary increase in one year (12 months) in South Africa is 5%.

Worldwide Salary Raises: All Countries and All Jobs

World Average Annual Salary Increment
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Salary Packages and Schemes

Not all compensation increases are reflected directly in the salary. Some companies offer upgraded packages to their staff instead of cash money. The figures displayed here account only for direct increments to the base salary.

Bonus and Incentive Rates / Legal / South Africa

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate South Africa Legal
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47% of surveyed staff in Legal reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 53% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.

Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 3% to 6% of their annual salary.

Received Bonus
No Bonus

Types of Bonuses Considered

Individual Performance-Based Bonuses

The most standard form of bonus, where the employee is awarded based on their exceptional performance.

Company Performance Bonuses

Occasionally, some companies like to celebrate excess earnings and profits with their staff collectively in the form of bonuses that are granted to everyone. The amount of the bonus will probably be different from person to person depending on their role within the organization.

Goal-Based Bonuses

Granted upon achieving an important goal or milestone.

Holiday / End of Year Bonuses

These types of bonuses are given without a reason and usually resemble an appreciation token.

Bonuses Are Not Commissions!

People tend to confuse bonuses with commissions. A commission is a prefixed rate at which someone gets paid for items sold or deals completed while a bonus is in most cases arbitrary and unplanned.

What makes a position worthy of good bonuses and a high salary?

The main two types of jobs

Revenue GeneratorsSupporting Cast

Employees that are directly involved in generating revenue or profit for the organization. Their field of expertise usually matches the type of business.

Employees that support and facilitate the work of revenue generators. Their expertise is usually different from that of the core business operations.

A graphics designer working for a graphics designing company.

A graphic designer in the marketing department of a hospital.

Revenue generators usually get more and higher bonuses, higher salaries, and more frequent salary increments. The reason is quite simple: it is easier to quantify your value to the company in monetary terms when you participate in revenue generation.

Try to work for companies where your skills can generate revenue. We can't all generate revenue and that's perfectly fine.

Bonus Comparison by Seniority Level

Top management personnel and senior employees naturally exhibit higher bonus rates and frequencies than juniors. This is very predictable due to the inherent responsibilities of being higher in the hierarchy. People in top positions can easily get double or triple bonus rates than employees down the pyramid.

Hourly Average Wage / Legal / South Africa

230 ZAR per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in Legal in South Africa is 230 ZAR.This is the rate they get paid for every worked hour.

Hourly Wage = Annual Salary / ( 52 x 5 x 8 )

About The Hourly Pay Rate

The hourly wage is the salary paid in one worked hour. Usually, jobs are classified into two categories: salaried jobs and hourly jobs. Salaried jobs pay a fixed amount regardless of the hours worked. Hourly jobs pay per worked hour. To convert salary into hourly wage the above formula is used (assuming 5 working days in a week and 8 working hours per day which is the standard for most jobs). The hourly wage calculation may differ slightly depending on the worked hours per week and the annual vacation allowance. The figures mentioned above are good approximations and are considered to be the standard. One major difference between salaried employees and hourly paid employees is overtime eligibility. Salaried employees are usually exempt from overtime as opposed to hourly paid staff.

What is the minimum hourly rate of pay?

The minimum pay rate per hour for people working in Legal in South Africa is 67 ZAR. This is the minimum as per the gathered data in the salary survey not the minimum hourly rate mandated by law.

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Bloemfontein39,300 ZAR
Cape Town47,100 ZAR
Durban45,000 ZAR
Johannesburg43,300 ZAR
Port Elizabeth40,900 ZAR
Pretoria42,500 ZAR

Government vs Private Sector Salary Comparison

Where can you get paid more, working in a private company or the government? The difference between the public or government sector salaries and the private sector salaries in South Africa is 7% on average across all career fields.

Private Sector
30,400 ZAR
Public Sector+7%
32,400 ZAR
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Statistics and Calculation Guide

What is considered to be a good and competitive salary in Legal in South Africa?

A good and competitive compensation would range anywhere between 36,500 ZAR and 46,100 ZAR. This is a very rough estimate. Experience and education play a very huge part in the final earnings.

Gross Salary (before tax) and Net Salary (after tax)

All salary and compensation figures displayed here are gross salary figures, that is the salary before tax deductions. Because taxes may differ across sectors and locations, it is difficult to accurately calculate the net salary after tax for every career.

Base / Basic Salary

The base salary for jobs in Legal in South Africa ranges from 11,600 ZAR to 26,900 ZAR. The base salary depends on many factors including experience and education. It is not easy to provide a figure with very little information, so take this range with a grain of salt.

What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people earn more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary

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