Net wages for selected professions (in US$ Purchasing Power Parity) for 2012 *
UBS Prices and Earnings September 2012
Benchmarking against other international city-regions remains a key focus for the GCR. One aspect of benchmarking relates to prices and earnings in the city-region. We recognise that there is huge potential for the GCR to attract and retain investment and professional staff – as well as international holidaymakers – due to a relatively low price level, a mid-level wage index and high domestic purchasing power.
We used data from UBS (a Switzerland-based international bank) in order to establish an international comparison of prices and earnings among 72 renowned cities across the world, using Johannesburg as one of the global cities. Although available only for ‘Johannesburg’, the data can safely be used as a proxy for the GCR on an international comparative scale.
Of the 72 major cities across the world surveyed in 2012, Johannesburg is among the 16 least expensive. As a result resident and business people in Johannesburg and the GCR at large are much better off than their counterparts elsewhere in the world, contrary to popular perception that the cost of living and doing business in Johannesburg is unaffordable.
The wage levels for Johannesburg compare favourably against many African, Asian and Latin American cities. They also rank favourably alongside Hong Kong and Athens. Although it falls well below the top cities, Johannesburg’s general wage level is competitive enough to attract and retain professionals whose internationally mobile skills sets enable them to locate anywhere. On the other hand, business can see the cost of labour as attractive compared to most European and North American, as well as some Asian cities. This is especially true for employment categories and wage levels that are typically unionised such as the mining sector.
International comparisons of the prices of a standard basket of goods and services and average earnings in a set of employment categories are a reliable means of assessing the cost of living and doing business in different locations.