WP02/2014

Teacher Wages in South Africa: How Attractive is the Teaching Profession?

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP08/2014

Author(s): Paula Armstrong

JEL Classification: I2, J31

Keywords: Education, wage differentials by occupation, wage level and structure

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Abstract:

This paper investigates the state of teacher pay in the South African labour market by comparing the remuneration received by teachers with that received by their non-teaching counterparts. It makes use of wage data from the Labour Force Surveys spanning 2000 to 2007, and 2010. This enables us to investigate the impact of the Occupation Specific Dispensation introduced in 2008 on the age-wage profile of the teaching profession. Remuneration is compared across educational attainment levels, years of experience and across age groups. A Lemieux Decomposition is used to determine what the distribution of teacher wages would look like if teachers were remunerated according to the same structure as non-teachers. It is found that the teaching profession is relatively unattractive to individuals at the top end of the skills distribution in the South African labour market, the result of which may be lower quality candidates entering the teaching profession.