Are the salaries of QS's declining, or are they leaving the country?
One of the most significant results from this year’s survey is that the number of practising salaried quantity surveyors with more than 10 years' experience seems to have declined from 28.2% to 21.4%. A knee-jerk reaction could be to attribute this drop in remuneration to the number of experienced quantity surveyors leaving the country, but this hypothesis is difficult to prove for a number of reasons.
Tracking the emigration rate in South Africa is complex without running a monthly headcount, but a report from Pew Research estimated that at least 900,000 people born in South Africa were living abroad in 2017. By the time of the next national census in 2021, this could easily be over one million people based on current rates. The exact number of educated and experienced quantity surveyors who have left the country over the past year, however, remains unknown. The quantity surveying profession has been challenged by a number of changes in the macro environment over the past two years, and this year’s drop in remuneration doesn’t necessarily signify the beginning of a downward trend.
With last year’s annual salary survey, the ASAQS saw a sharp drop in the remuneration of quantity surveyors qualified at university and with more than 10 years' experience. That seems to have been corrected in this year's survey.
Salary comparisons by province
According to the median provincial comparison of quantity surveyors with 11 – 20 years experience, quantity surveyors in the Western Cape receive the highest remuneration (R971,000 per annum), followed by Gauteng (R868,485 per annum) and Limpopo (R769,374 per annum).
The survey was conducted in March and the remuneration packages of the principles, partners, members of close corporations and directors were excluded from the results. The ASAQS also warns that one should be cautious when comparing figures from one year to the next. The survey suggests trends over longer periods of time and if one compares the 2018 percentage to the 22.0% recorded in 2013, then the balance in experience seems to have remained fairly constant.
Older salary surveys can be downloaded here