When it comes to the best-paying jobs in South Africa, many of the top roles are similar to global trends. Sectors like finance and IT often have the highest salaries, for example. However, there are plenty of other industries with high-paying jobs, and skilled workers are in demand across the country.

As well as exploring some of the roles that pay the most, we also take a look at how you can go about getting into these fields. And, to help you build your knowledge base, we’ve also included some links to relevant courses. Remember, just because a job pays well doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you. One of our online learning opportunities can help you get a feel for whether you’re suited to a particular industry.


What is a pilot?

When it comes to jobs with a lot of responsibility, pilots rank towards the top. They are ultimately responsible for the safety and safe passage of the aircraft they fly. As well as planning the route based on factors like weather and cargo, pilots also organise the crew, ensure passengers are safe, and communicate with air traffic control. It’s one of the best-paying jobs in South Africa and many other countries.

How do you become a pilot?

There are several stages to becoming a pilot, each requiring a different licence and several hundred hours of flying time. You’ll want to start with your private pilot licence and night rating, before moving onto a commercial or multi-engine licence. You’ll also need to be authorised by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

How much do pilots make?

The average salary for a commercial pilot in South Africa is 693,000 ZAR.

Discover Our Abc of Flight Mechanics: How Do Planes Fly? Course



Software Engineer

What is a software engineer?

A software engineer (also known as a software developer) is an IT professional responsible for developing new programs, technologies and software. Often, they’ll use their detailed science and maths knowledge to solve complex problems, creating solutions that are accessible to other professionals and consumers. It’s a broad field, with scope to specialise in particular areas.

How do you become a software engineer?

A computer science degree is often the preferred starting route for software engineers. They usually take four years to complete and will teach you most of the essentials you’ll need for this career. However, a self-taught approach can also work, provided you have an expansive portfolio to back up your knowledge. It’s one of the best-paying jobs in South Africa and globally, as demand is currently massive.

How much do software engineers make?

The average salary for a software engineer in South Africa is 567,996 ZAR.

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Petroleum Engineer

What is a petroleum engineer?

Engineering is a broad field with many areas of specialisation. Petroleum engineers are in high demand in South Africa due to its rich oil and gas fields. They specialise in the evaluation, development, and production of these resources. Within the field of petroleum engineering, there are further specialisations, such as focusing on geology, drilling, and production.

How do you become a petroleum engineer?

You’ll need a high level of education to work in this field. To start with, you’ll need a degree in a relevant science or engineering field. From there, you’ll usually need at least three years’ workplace experience. You’ll also have to register with the Engineering Council of South Africa.

How much do petroleum engineers make?

The average salary for a petroleum engineer in South Africa is 529,000 ZAR.

Explore Engineering Courses



Chartered Accountant

What is a chartered accountant?

Chartered accountants provide a range of advice and auditing services about financial records. They usually work for organisations across the public and private sectors, working on reporting, taxation, and other business-related areas. The role of a chartered accountant is to help their clients maximise their profitability, making it one of the best-paying jobs in South Africa.

How do you become a chartered accountant?

To work as a chartered accountant, you’ll need a qualification that’s recognised by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). This means first taking a bachelor’s degree, followed by a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA). You’ll then need to gain practical experience before passing the Initial Test of Competence (ITC) and Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

How much do chartered accountants make?

The average salary for a chartered accountant in South Africa is 590,715 ZAR.

Explore Our Finance and Accounting Courses




What is a surgeon?

Surgeons are doctors who specialise in performing surgical operations. They’re the medical professionals who are in charge of all aspects of the surgery process, overseeing other medical staff and planning the procedure. It’s a role with a tremendous amount of responsibility, making it one of the best-paying jobs in South Africa.

How do you become a surgeon?

To become a surgeon, you’ll need to start by studying for an MBChB degree. This gives you six years of theoretical training, as well as a one-year internship. After that, you’ll need to gain further hospital experience before registering with the Interim Medical and Dental Council. You’ll then spend further years studying and gaining experience in your field of specialisation.

How much do surgeons make?

The average salary for a General Surgeon in South Africa is 591,275 ZAR.

Explore Healthcare Courses




IT Manager

What is an IT manager?

IT managers oversee the smooth operation of a company’s computer networks. This role includes responsibilities for hardware, software, servers, and security. It’s a varied role that touches on just about all aspects of business IT. However, in some organisations, it’s a more specialised role, where a manager is responsible for one specific IT area.

How do you become an IT manager?

Computer skills are essential to becoming an IT manager. You’ll need to start with a strong understanding of various elements of business computing. Next, a bachelor’s degree in a field related to information technology or management is required. You’ll then have to work your way through the ranks of an IT department to reach the level of manager.

How much do IT managers make?

The average salary for an IT manager in South Africa is 496,676 ZAR.

Explore it & Computer Science Courses




What is an actuary?

Actuaries are professionals that deal with risk management. They use their knowledge of mathematics and analytics to measure risk and the probability of future events, relating this to the financial impact for their clients. It’s a diverse role, which can focus on areas such as banking, insurance, pensions and more. Give how essential this role is to businesses, it’s one of the best-paying jobs in South Africa.

How do you become an actuary?

It takes around eight years’ of study to become an actuary in South Africa. You’ll need to start with an undergraduate degree, before going on to a postgraduate qualification. After your university education, you’ll need to gain experience and pass the qualifications regulated by the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

How much do actuaries make?

The average salary for an actuary in South Africa is 710,076 ZAR.

Discover Our Survival Statistics: Secrets for Demystifying Numbers Course




What is an attorney?

South Africa has two types of legal practitioner, attorneys and advocates. Attorneys do all kinds of legal work, while advocates specialise in litigation. The role of attorney sees them manage legal cases for their clients. They will prepare the case, appear in court, and give legal counsel. Where specialist knowledge is needed, they will bring in an advocate.

How do you become an attorney?

To become an attorney, you’ll need to study towards an LLB qualification from a South African university. You will then have to gain experience working under a qualified attorney for at least two years. You’ll then need to pass the board exam set by the provincial Law Society you wish to work in.

How much do attorneys make?

The average salary for an attorney in South Africa is 245,394 ZAR.

Explore Law Courses



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