Sat. May 30th, 2020

Cape Town vs Johannesburg vs 50 major cities: Where can you earn the best salary?

Cape Town vs Johannesburg SalaryThe tussle between our two biggest cities is never ending, but when it comes to an average monthly salary, Cape Town vs Johannesburg is a tight contest.

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The Deutsche Bank’s eighth-annual Mapping The World survey has pitted the Cape Town vs Johannesburg debate against 50 of the planet’s most bustling cities. The extensive research has painstakingly detailed the quality of life and cost of everyday expenses in each metropolis.

However, on this occasion, we want to find out how our salary prices match-up…

The best place to earn a living, according to the data, is San Francisco. It tops the charts in terms of lifestyle options and general leisure pursuits, but it also provides its inhabitants with the chance to make a lot of money. In fact, it’s even become more profitable than New York, with those in San Fran taking home a higher annual wage.

These two American giants are separated by Zurich in Switzerland, which occupies second-spot and puts the Big Apple into third. Two more US cities in Boston and Chicago make up the top five, whereas Sydney, Australia is ranked as the best city outside of Europe and America:

Top ten cities for earning a well-paid salary:

(All figures based on an average monthly salary)

Rank City Country Monthly
wage in
Monthly wage
in Rand
1 San Francisco USA $6 526 R94 300
2 Zurich Switzerland $5 896 R85 200
3 New York USA $4 612 R66 650
4 Boston USA $4 288 R61 950
5 Chicago USA $4 062 R58 700
6 Sydney Australia $3 599 R52 000
7 Oslo Norway $3 246 R47 000
8 Copenhagen Denmark $3 190 R46 100
9 Melbourne Australia $3 181 R46 000
10 London United Kingdom $2 956 R42 700

Cape Town vs Johannesburg – salary wars:

But how does that compare to our two South African powerhouses? Well, residents of the Mother City take the bragging rights here once again. They come 34th on the survey, just two places above Johannesburg. The margins are razor thin, and the difference in monthly earnings are separated only by Prague in the Czech Republic:

  • 33: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – $1 473 / R21 288
  • 34: Cape Town, South Africa – $1 302 / R18 800
  • 35: Prague, Czech Republic – $1 256 / R18 150
  • 36: Johannesburg, South Africa – $1 223 / R17 675
  • 37: Shanghai, China – $1 184 / R17 110

How African cities performed

Deutsche Bank’s research shows that the average monthly salary in Cape Town is more than R1 000 above what is being earned in Johannesburg. That’s essentially a thirteenth cheque’s worth of money when you total it up over 12 months. In the past year, CPT seems to be fighting back against the supposed financial muscle of Jozi.

Both South African cities are the highest-earners on the continent of Africa, with Lagos (Nigeria) and Cairo (Egypt) propping up the table in 54th and 55th respectively, where the average monthly wage is between $200 – $250.

In terms of a Cape Town vs Johannesburg match-up, both cities have actually outperformed European giants like Warsaw, Moscow and Lisbon. It’s a case of mid-table mediocrity on the global stage, but in their personal duel, the competition between Mzansi’s most-populated areas has rarely been this close.

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