Food, Rent Gobble 78% Of Workers’ Wages

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By Alois Vinga

HARD-PRESSED Zimbabwean workers are spending an estimated 78% of the monthly earnings on food and rental costs, leaving very limited room for personal growth and long-term investments owing to deep economic challenges in the country.

This is contained in a recent survey conducted by the Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC).

The IPC report, which carried out a cost of living expenses survey for executives, senior managers, middle managers, professionals, and National Employment Council (NEC) level employees, concluded a huge chunk of earnings is eroded by living expenses.

“The adverse impact of Covid-19 on the economy and employee standard of living is evident. On average, all employees are left with 22% of net income after accounting for living expenses. The worst affected groups are the professional officer level, senior manager, and NEC staff,” the IPC report said.

The employment consultants’ group established that for NEC employees, a large part of their earnings goes to food and rentals while for the senior managers, a large part of the earnings goes to rent and school fees.

The survey observed that executive managers are left with 23% extra after deducting their living expenses, senior managers 20%, middle managers 27%  officer professional 18%,  NEC employees 21%.

IPC established that the least paid employees at NEC level on average earn $72 666 while ordinary professionals take home $139 000 in monthly salaries.

Middle managers are earning monthly salaries of $284 277, senior managers $481 251, and executive managers earn $845 151.

“The officer/professional had $25,256 left after meeting their estimated basic living costs. This leaves them in a relatively tricky position in case of emergencies like unplanned hospital bills.

“The NEC employee had $14,980 left after meeting their basic living costs. The NEC employee is making very tough choices about which basic living costs are most essential, considering that they are living almost below the minimum cost of living,” the IPC report said.

The survey recommends employers to assist their employees in the alleviation of suffering by offering food hampers and adjusting housing allowances in line with prevailing market rentals for NEC workers, offering any assistance with rentals, and school fees.

IPC said senior managers may need any assistance with rentals and school fees would assist them in covering the gap between earnings and living expenses

Added IPC: “There is a need to restructure the wage system and make the remuneration system flexible and competitive in line with productivity and the cost of living. The system must be flexible to accommodate both good and bad times without threatening the sustainability of businesses.”