Possible careers within this industry
Economist | Banking analyst | Bank manager | Financial advisor | Investment banker
South Africa’s banking sector has undergone rapid and widespread change in recent years, as disruptive technologies have forced banks to innovate and change old ways of doing business. It might be hard to imagine a world without mobile banking, but these and other digital developments, such as apps and online/mobile payments, are fairly recent. Start-ups in the financial technology arena, commonly referred to as “fintech”, are giving banks a serious run for their money as they enter spaces traditionally dominated by banks, such as payments and lending.
Notwithstanding these exciting changes, South Africa’s banking sector remains the most developed and well-regulated banking sector on the continent. That the sector is alive and well is demonstrated by the entrance of new players. These include Capitec, as well as the large number of global investments banks that have established branches and representative offices in South Africa. These include Goldman Sachs and HSBC. The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) governs the sector, which is regulated by the Banks Act.
Due to the size and scope of the banking sector, there is almost no limit to the type of career that can be pursued within it. Apart from individuals engaged in the day-to-day business of banking, large banks have units dedicated to economic research and analysis, human resources, public relations and advertising. Many people spend their entire working lives in the same bank, moving between divisions and constantly being challenged in new ways.
Banking salaries – and salaries in the financial services sector more broadly – vary widely depending on your qualifications, experience, position and the size of the company. While bank tellers are fairly low-paid workers, banking executives in senior positions can earn several million rand a year as basic pay, not to mention performance bonuses and share options.
What to study
If you’re keen on exploring ‘the business of the bank’ in consider studying a business science degree with a specialisation in accounting, finance or economics. Most banks have articles programmes for individuals wanting to become certified chartered accountants. If you’d prefer to be involved in running a bank’s public relations or advertising campaigns, then a marketing, media or communications degree is advisable. And with technology developing at the rapid pace that it is, just about every business – banks in particular – require considerable IT expertise.
Did you know?
- The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index ranks South Africa 12 out of 144 countries for financial market development.
- Including performance-based pay and share awards, the chief executive officers of most banks earn more than R20 million a year.
- South African banks are significantly more sound – i.e. they have healthy balance sheets – than those in the UK and the USA, according to the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index. The index finds that SA has the eighth most ‘sound’ banks in the world.
- Nedbank (Banking sector partner)
- Standard Bank
- Pushes beyond boundaries
- Smart with heart
- Has integrity
Banking salaries – and salaries in the financial services sector more broadly – vary widely depending on your qualifications, experience, company size and position within the organisation. While bank tellers are fairly low-paid workers, banking executives in senior positions within the organisation can earn several million rand a year as basic pay, not to mention performance bonuses and share options.
- Bank teller:
R3 600 to R9 300
- Credit analyst:
R14 800 – R51 800
- Project manager (IT):
R23 500 – R120 535