RewardOnline National Salary Survey

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RewardOnline is a comprehensive web-based national salary survey and remuneration/compensation data solution that is used by top HR and Reward professionals to benchmark salaries


Unlimited Access to Data Benchmarks

Subscribers have unlimited real-time access (for a full year) to live data benchmarks for over 1000 job titles, at both executive and general staff levels, in private as well as state-owned organisations.

Live and Referenced Data

Live remuneration data is available for South Africa and Zimbabwe, and referenced benchmark data is available for many other African and Asian countries.

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Audited annually

RewardOnline is the only salary survey in Africa that is audited – annually by SNG – and has received a clean audit every year since 2011 – ensuring that the benchmark data is accurate, current and relevant, from data collection right through to survey reports.

confidentiality promise

Confidentiality Promise

Our business rests on commitment to confidentiality of data. Thus under no circumstances would any individual information or any company-specific information be disclosed to any other participant. Our business depends on our commitment to this promise.

RewardOnline Features

  • Choose from multiple grading systems.
  • Select from over 1000 jobs, including several specialised job families.
  • Compare across multiple countries.
  • Select specific industries.
  • View a national benchmark, or a specific region.
  • Filter by the jobs that exist in your company or access the full database of jobs.
  • Select the specific percentile results you would like to see.
  • Compare your own organisation’s data (by job, by grade and by job family) to the market.
  • Conduct compa ratio analyses per individual (to the market or your industry cut) or to all separate industry cuts.
  • Executive data is available for both Private Sector and State Owned Enterprises in South Africa and includes Long Term Incentive data.

21st Century has developed a methodology to present salary data in countries where survey houses are not active.

  • Conceptually, the existing live data sets that 21st Century holds for various positions are used as an anchor to project pay rates and to provide a salary survey of referenced data.
  • Using a combination of United Nations, World Bank, and cost-of-living indicators, we are able to provide referenced benchmarks within other economies.
  • In addition we reference our extensive experience of the relativity of positions within a structure. We thus take into account cost-of-living factors, currency differentials, country and job relativities to provide you with reference benchmarks.
  • The results are also tested against 21st Century data for various African & Asian countries in which we actively operate and has proven itself to be robust in its results.

The annual license fee entitles the user to full use of the survey for a year, including access to the system, initial training, and one complete set of organisation-wide reports.

These reports include:

  • Remuneration data comparison.
  • Total Guaranteed Package – with a breakdown of remuneration components such as car allowance, housing benefits, and medical contributions.
  • Job correlation – confirmation of the job matches for your inclusion of data in the survey.
  • Customised reports:
    • A range of industries
    • A range of locations
    • Your organisation’s own customised grading systems
    • Your organisation’s choice of comparators
  • Compa ratio:
    • per individual to the national market
    • per region (upon request)
    • per individual to your industry cut (upon request)
    • to all separate industry cuts
  • Graphic representation of results.

  • All your searches are archived for easy retrieval.
  • Access a track record of your own data and benchmark history.
  • Export graphs to PDF and Excel.

Power BI is a business analytics solution that lets you visualise your data and share insights across your organisation.


  • Slice and dice data at the click of a button
  • Interrogate data at a more granular level
  • Investigate anomalies in the data and formulate solutions
  • Data is easy to submit – submit your data once a year via Excel templates sent out by us, or via your payroll:
    • Data has been split to detail each element of pay for each position, which will enable you to accurately analyse and compare the elements that make up your organization’s total reward mix.
    • Data is refined to take into account a range of business metrics, including:
      • company structure and complexity
      • company size
      • industry
      • region
    • Grades (including modal grades) are market-related.
  • We will also send you a defined questionnaire regarding your organisation’s remuneration policy.
  • Individual job matching is done by us – you need only validate the matching.
  • Different access levels can be set up in RewardOnline so that sensitive data can be accessed only by those with permission.
  • Raw data is not stored on the Internet. The data that is reflected on RewardOnline is the result of the statistical analysis of the raw data that is uploaded to the site, but no raw data is uploaded.

  • RewardOnline is hosted on a secure server site, using Thawte SSL Web Server Certificates, which offers comprehensive authentication procedures (domain name and identity verification). Information is kept private while in transit between our web server and our clients’ web browsers thereby ensuring the security of clients’ data. 

The annual subscription fee:

  • Is all-inclusive (for all national data on the database).
  • Includes initial training.
  • Includes a complete set of organisation-wide reports.
  • Imposes no limit to the number of users.

What are the steps?

  • When you join RewardOnline, we will ask for your full payroll data set.
  • We will match your jobs to the jobs in the database and will then ask for your input to validate and confirm the accuracy of the matches.
  • Your data is uploaded to the RewardOnline database.
  • You will have access to the site for a full year, and may access as many benchmarks as you need.
  • We will give you a full report of relevant market benchmarks with comparative ratios to your own data.
  • We will repeat this process annually to ensure your data remains up-to-date as you pass salary increases.

Join anytime – this is a live database, so the data is always relevant!

contact us to subscribe

RewardOnline Premium Reports

Premium reports are available on request.

Some of these reports are available at a discounted rate to RewardOnline subscribers and some of them are free to Rewardonline subscribers.

Compa Ratio Report (within your region, within your industry, or within a subsidiary/ division/department)

After validation, 21st Century provides a Compa Ratio to Total Guaranteed Package at no additional cost to RewardOnline subscribers.

There are 6 industries available:

  • Extractive
  • Transformative
  • Distributive Services
  • Producer Services
  • Social Services

Report on Pay by Grade (by Job Family or by Industry)

Request a report that reflects Pay by Grade for a specific job family or a specific industry.

There are 9 job families: Compliance and Risk, Financial and Accounting, Human Capital, Information Technology, Logistics and Procurement, Marketing and Sales, Operational, Secretarial, Technical & Specialist
There are 6 industries available: Extractive, Transformative, Distributive Services, Producer Services, Social Services, Personal Services.

Executive Report

This report is a custom extract using companies of your selection from 5 400 executives’ data and includes a long-term Black Scholes incentive valuation. TGP valuation would be added to this.

The report will be prepared and delivered to you within 4 working days. 

In-house Executive Benchmarks

As a niche survey participant, you qualify for a 10% discount on in-house Executive benchmarks.

Non-Executive Directors Report

A market report on remuneration for Non-Executives, for both Board and Committee roles at Chair and Non-Exec level. This report takes specific consideration of your organisation size and complexity.

Report on Increase Trends in South Africa

A detailed report describing the economic landscape, historical statistics, bank forecasts for CPI and both historical and projected increase percentages. This report will enable you to consider increase trends in a holistic way.

Report on Benefit Trends in South Africa

A comprehensive report detailing practices on benefit policies in South Africa, differentiated by level:

  • Labour turnover
  • Remuneration approach
  • Typical benefits offered, and flexibility thereof; detail per benefit for medical aid, retirement funding, vehicle benefits, risk benefits
  • Circumstantial allowances
  • Increases – value, timing, factors measured
  • Leave benefits
  • Housing and relocation benefits
  • Retention and recognition
  • Long service awards
  • Short-term incentive trends
  • Training and development

Incentive Trends in South Africa

This report includes Long Term Incentive (LTI) trends and Short Term Incentive (STI) trends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You have access to the system for a full year. 21st Century will contact you when your annual licence fee is due to expire.

Raw data is not stored on the Internet. The data that is reflected on RewardOnline is the result of statistical analysis of raw data. These results of the analysis are uploaded to the site, but no raw data is uploaded.


RewardOnline is hosted on a secure server site. We have, in terms of the hosting and security of data for RewardOnline made use of the Thawte SSL Certificates, which assures clients of the security of their data. More detail on this is provided below:
The Thawte SSL Web Server Certificate offers comprehensive authentication procedures (domain name and identity verification). This ensures that information is kept private while in transit between our web server and our clients’ web browsers.
Thawte Certificate Features and Benefits:


• Encryption: Up to 256-bit encryption enabled
• Browser compatibility is the highest in industry
• Certificate Details: Domain and identity authentication and verification
• Thawte Trusted Site Seal
• Root CA
• Free Reissues: unlimited for the lifespan of the certificate
• Technical Support: Free, 24/5 multi-lingual for all global time zones
• Secures Internationalized Domains: thawte is the first Certification Authority to have all its SSL certificates support IDNs character sets
• CRL: Certificate Revocation List fully supported
• Online Certificate Status Protocol: A major software vendor has released a beta version of their browser that will have automatic certificate revocation checking as a default option. This new checking protocol will maximize the speed of checking the status of thawte certificates and will minimize the possibilities of online fraud as invalid certificates and companies will immediately be exposed to the end customer.


No – The database is kept valid by the continual updating of the database from participants. We guarantee the confidentiality of data and have no problem signing a confidentiality document on request from a client.

Yes, you can define user access to general staff reports or executive reports, or both. You can also limit access to identified niche surveys and identified countries.

No, the initial training is part of your participation fee. Additional training would be quoted on separately.

Detailed salary data is gathered from each organisation, and where possible, a full breakdown of all the components of pay. This enables 21st Century to report for each individual component of pay. However, some organisations operate in an environment of “total cost” or “total package” approach, and the individual breakdown of pay is driven by individual lifestyle decisions rather than company policy. For this reason, the benchmark for total guaranteed package is the most reliable line item for reference purposes, since it contains all the components of pay, irrespective of how the package is broken up.

Please remember that there exists a minimum and a maximum number on either side of the 10th percentile and 90th percentile.

Please note that the ‘total remuneration’ is not an arithmetic sum of the quartiles. In other words, the quartiles for each element of pay are re-calculated per item, and do not follow mathematically down the column. This is because an incumbent may earn fixed pay at the upper quartile, with variable pay at the lower quartile (or vice versa). Furthermore, not all incumbents receive all 3 elements of pay. As an example:


In this example, the median figure on total remuneration is not the sum of the guaranteed package plus the short-term incentive. Only a portion of this sample offer a short-term incentive, whereas the total remuneration is calculated for the entire sample, including those where no short-term incentive was paid.

No – In order to offer a useful reflection of the market, data has been presented as quartiles. This means that extremes are excluded (such as an extremely high maximum salary), and the possibility of skewed data is avoided. Quartiles are only calculated across the number of incumbents who reported for that component of pay. In other words, if not all incumbents received a short-term incentive, then the quartiles are only calculated for those who did receive this i.e. zeros have been excluded. Where quartiles are similar or equal, this is because more than 75% of the sample are reporting the same value.

Yes – if an organisation has missed the submission date for a survey, they can receive a copy of the report post-participation. This would be based on them sharing their salary data as if they had participated, paying the fee for participation in the survey, and committing to participate in the next industry survey. On this basis, they would receive a copy of the report with a comparison to their own salary data, as well as access to the specific job family on RewardOnline.

Yes – a correlation table is offered in the library so that a client can understand the grading terminology; the grading system is purely a methodology for ranking relative worth of jobs, and is a logical framework that is intuitive even for clients that have no formal grading system. You will see that every job reports a modal grade i.e. the most common grade for that role in the market

The OFO codes are an international standard for job classification, and have been linked to the RewardOnline role capsule descriptions.

The comparative ratio or “Compa-Ratio” is simply the company actual salary divided by the market data, multiplied by 100, for the appropriate position. Every compa ratio is measured relative to 100 –if compared to the median, a compa ratio of 107 means that the individual earns 7% ahead of the market median.


The comparative ratio would be the key to interpreting the results of the survey. From a remuneration point of view, a compa ratio of < 75 and > 125 would highlight specific areas / positions to focus on. These are highlighted in red in the comparative ratio report.

In interpreting the answer, the following steps are recommended:


a) Check the job match of your job versus the job that it has been correlated to in the market. This detail can be seen in the report “Job correlation report”.
b) Check if the grade of the position is correct, and whether the job is under / over written
c) Should the grade be correct, the anomaly could be linked to the performance of the individual. For example, a top performer may reflect a compa ratio of > 125. The market norm is that 5 –8% of employees can be “red flagged” for good reason. However, should there be good performers with a compa ratio < 75, they should be brought to the Lower Quartile as soon as possible. Should a poor performer have a compa ratio of > 125, they should have pay increases retarded with immediate effect.


The comparative ratio is useful for analysing pay positioning of individuals versus the outside market (external equity).

The minimum sample size per position is 3 or more companies, with 7 or more individuals; it is important to note that in the majority of cases there would be far more than 7 individuals per position title. Where there was insufficient data for a position, this data has been excluded. For every additional analysis (e.g. industry analysis), data is only presented where samples are sufficient.

Detailed salary data is gathered from each organisation, and where possible, a full breakdown of all the components of pay. However, some organisations operate in an environment of “total cost” or “total package” approach, and may not offer a housing benefit to an individual. Thus, the reporting is driven by ensuring a minimum sample on total guaranteed package only. As an example, 27 incumbents are included in the sample, but only 9 of them receive a housing allowance. This data would be reported in RewardOnline. For this reason, the benchmark for total guaranteed package is the most reliable line item for reference purposes, since it contains all the components of pay, irrespective of how the package is broken up.

The percentiles guide a remuneration decision based on level of responsibility, scarcity of skills, complexity of the business and performance of an individual, as examples. Thus, an organisation may choose to pay at a higher percentile for an individual who exceeds expectations in terms of the above. The four main defensible reasons for progression within a pay scale are:
– Performance
– Value add
– Attainment of specific skills or qualifications
– Tenure / experience

An organisation would typically use the market data to create a pay scale around a market reference point e.g. the market median.



No, an average can be a misleading statistic if there are extremes in a set of salary data. The median is reported because it is a reliable reflection of the market data and excludes extremes.

The user can contact their relevant Client Executive, in addition to sending the query to [email protected] We are happy to suggest an appropriate match for the role you are looking for data on. We continually create new jobs on the database as jobs become prevalent and as the data samples allow. 

Yes – the “archive” function is available under the “Reports” tab. As soon as reports are run, they are automatically stored in the “Archive”, along with all the parameters used in selection of the benchmark.

You would typically upload your data when you join RewardOnline, and then on an annual basis after each salary adjustment is passed.

Email [email protected] or contact the RewardOnline team on +27 (11) 447-0306 and we will help you reset your password.


Yes this is possible, but we recommend obtaining a separate user name and password, so that you can track the history of processes and actions followed by each user via the archive.

The comparator group is identified in the RewardOnline Library. In addition to data submitted, 21st Century has incorporated public information sourced from annual financial statements. This data is provided monthly by McGregor BFA, a division of Fin24.

We regularly review user comments and plan enhancements to RewardOnline. We will conduct snap surveys to obtain feedback from users. Planned enhancements will be communicated to users through our newsletter.

Yes, you can view it in the Library

Data in the system is live, and is current. Data is continually updated as new users join the system, and as current users update their data within the system. Data is updated weekly.

No, there is unlimited use of the system for a full year.

Yes – the system offers options to print to pdf or Excel. You are also able to copy each report result and paste it into MSWord or Powerpoint. You would then have the opportunity to conduct further analysis as required, or to create graphical representation of results.

With the increased move toward a total package approach in remuneration, the base salary and benefit benchmarks are becoming less important and less meaningful. This is because individuals are able to choose the range of benefits that best suit their lifestyle, and are able to define the amount of cash that comes out of the package. In the add-on approach, the cash portion (base salary) is defined and is not flexible. Taking the combination of approaches into account, in this survey we have continued to report a base salary benchmark as well as benefit components, and have used our experience of typical market practice to define these benchmarks and to make it a meaningful representation of market practice. Following on from this, where organisations adopt a total package approach, this means that the benefit breakdown per job is also a result of a mix of lifestyle choices. In recommending good practice for benchmarking, we would strongly recommend that the guaranteed package benchmark is the most reliable “line item” of pay to focus on, as this includes all items that are a guaranteed cost of employment, irrespective of the remuneration approach or the flexibility in lifestyle choices.


A modal grade is the most commonly reported grade

Yes, there may be customised matches where a particular industry and geographical match is a small sample, though we expect this to be infrequent. In this case we suggest that you reference a “Benchmark by grade”

Yes. You have 3 options:
– Export to print
– Download as PDF
– Download as Excel

Yes. You can select any 5th percentile from the 10th percentile to the 90th percentile

21st Century has developed a methodology to present salary data in countries where survey houses are not active. Conceptually the existing data sets that 21st Century holds for various positions are used as an anchor to project pay rates. It is our experience that the relativity of positions in terms of remuneration is consistent across different countries. In other words, although remuneration levels may vary the pay progression through different positions is a relatively constant slope. Using the Emerging Markets data panel set as the anchor (± 1 000 discrete jobs) and referencing various external databases we are able to project salary ranges for all positions. This model has been tested for various countries against existing data sets and has proven itself to be robust in its results. The results are also tested against 21st Century data for various African countries in which we actively operate. In RewardOnline you will see data is highlighted as REFERENCED DATA in this case.

Yes. You can select only the jobs that are applicable to your company, and RewardOnline will filter to extract only the benchmarks you need for the matches to your job.


Join our regular free training sessions. We periodically run free Refresher sessions, which we normally pair with a talk on a related topical issue.

Demo and Support

Contact us for a no-obligation demo, or for more information. Our consultants will always be available to help you via phone or email.

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