Average Political Scientist Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Political Scientist Salary in South Africa is R53,758 per month. An entry-level Political Scientist earns a salary range of R27,658, a Mid-career level earns about R55,575, and a senior/experienced level earns R74,192 per month.

Average Political Scientist Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Political Scientist 27,658
Mid-Career Political Scientist 55,575
Experienced Political Scientist 74,192

Types of Political Scientists and Their Functions in South Africa

Political scientists in South Africa, like in many other countries, play diverse roles based on their areas of specialization. Here are some types of political scientists and their functions within the South African context:

1. Comparative Politics Analysts

They examine political systems, institutions, and processes in South Africa in comparison to other nations. This helps in understanding the uniqueness and commonalities of the South African political landscape.

2. Political Economists

Focus on the relationship between politics and the economy in South Africa. They analyze economic policies, government interventions, and the impact on socio-political dynamics.

3. International Relations Experts

Explore South Africa’s role in the global arena, studying its foreign policy, diplomatic relations, and participation in international organizations. They contribute to shaping the country’s foreign affairs strategy.

4. Public Policy Scholars

Investigate the formulation and implementation of policies in South Africa. They assess the effectiveness of policies in addressing societal issues and propose recommendations for improvements.

5. Political Sociologists

Study the relationship between politics and society in South Africa. They analyze social movements, political culture, and how societal factors influence political behavior.

6. Political Historians

Examine the historical context of South African politics, tracing the evolution of political institutions, ideologies, and conflicts. This historical perspective contributes to a deeper understanding of the present political landscape.

7. Human Rights and Justice Researchers

Investigate issues related to human rights, justice, and governance in South Africa. They may focus on topics such as constitutional law, the legal system, and the protection of civil liberties.

8. Political Psychologists

Study the psychological aspects of political behavior in South Africa. This includes analyzing voter attitudes, political communication, and the impact of psychological factors on political decision-making.

9. Environmental Policy Analysts

Specialize in studying the intersection of politics and the environment. They assess South Africa’s environmental policies, their implementation, and the government’s role in sustainable development.

10. Gender and Politics Scholars

Explore the role of gender in South African politics, addressing issues such as women’s representation, gender-based violence, and the impact of policies on gender equality.

11. Security and Conflict Analysts

Focus on security issues within South Africa, analyzing conflicts, terrorism threats, and the effectiveness of security policies. They contribute to shaping strategies for maintaining national security.

12. Political Communication Experts

Study how political information is disseminated and received in South Africa. They analyze media, political speeches, and the use of technology in shaping public opinion.

In summary, the varied functions of political scientists in South Africa reflect the multidimensional nature of political inquiry, encompassing historical, economic, social, psychological, and global perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of the country’s political landscape.

Factors Affecting Political Scientists Salaries in South Africa

Political scientists play a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of a country, and their expertise is essential for understanding and addressing complex political issues. In South Africa, the salaries of political scientists are influenced by a myriad of factors that reflect the dynamic nature of the field and the socio-economic context of the country.

1. Educational Background

One of the primary determinants of political scientists’ salaries in South Africa is their educational qualifications. Individuals with advanced degrees, such as a Ph.D. in Political Science, tend to command higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The level of expertise and specialization acquired through higher education contributes significantly to salary differentials.

2. Professional Experience

Experience in the field is another critical factor influencing political scientists’ salaries. Those with a substantial track record of research, publications, and practical experience in political analysis or advisory roles are likely to earn higher salaries. Experience not only enhances the depth of knowledge but also demonstrates a practitioner’s ability to apply theoretical concepts to real-world situations.

3. Specialization

The specific area of specialization within political science can impact salary levels. For instance, experts in niche fields such as international relations, public policy, or electoral systems may command higher salaries due to the specialized knowledge and skills required in these areas. The demand for expertise in certain fields also plays a role in determining salaries.

4. Geographic Location

Salaries in South Africa are often influenced by geographic location. Urban centers with a higher cost of living, such as Johannesburg or Cape Town, may offer higher salaries to political scientists compared to those in less expensive areas. Additionally, the demand for political scientists in specific regions may affect salary levels.

5. Sector of Employment

Political scientists can work in various sectors, including academia, government, non-profit organizations, or private consulting firms. Salaries may differ based on the sector, with academia and government positions often offering competitive compensation packages. The stability and budget constraints of different sectors can also impact salary negotiations.

6. Economic Conditions

The overall economic conditions of the country play a role in determining salary levels. Economic stability, inflation rates, and government budget allocations for research and advisory services can influence the financial remuneration provided to political scientists. Economic downturns may result in budget cuts and affect salary increments.

How to Become a Political Scientist in South Africa

To become a political scientist in South Africa, follow these steps:

1. Educational Background

Obtain a bachelor’s degree in political science or a related field. Focus on courses that provide a solid foundation in political theory, government systems, and research methods.

2. Specialization

Identify your specific area of interest within political science, such as international relations, political economy, or public policy. Specializing will help you carve a niche in your career.

3. Postgraduate Studies

Pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in political science to enhance your expertise and research capabilities. This step is crucial for those aspiring to work in academia, research institutions, or policy analysis.

4. Research and Publications

Engage in independent research projects and aim to publish articles in reputable journals. Building a strong publication record will enhance your credibility and open doors for career advancement.

5. Networking

Attend academic conferences, seminars, and workshops to connect with professionals in the field. Networking can lead to collaboration opportunities, exposure to current research trends, and potential job prospects.

6. Internships and Practical Experience

Seek internships with government agencies, think tanks, or non-profit organizations. Practical experience will not only complement your academic knowledge but also provide valuable insights into the real-world application of political science.

7. Language Skills

Develop proficiency in additional languages, especially if you are interested in international relations. South Africa’s diverse linguistic landscape makes multilingualism an asset in this field.

8. Stay Informed

Stay abreast of current affairs, both domestically and internationally. Political scientists need to have a deep understanding of political dynamics and trends to contribute meaningfully to their field.

9. Teaching Experience (Optional)

If pursuing a career in academia, gaining teaching experience can be beneficial. This may involve serving as a teaching assistant during your postgraduate studies or obtaining a lecturing position after completing your Ph.D.

10. Professional Memberships

Join professional organizations related to political science, such as the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS). Membership provides access to resources, conferences, and a network of professionals.

11. Continuous Learning

Political science is a dynamic field, so commit to lifelong learning. Attend workshops, webinars, and short courses to stay updated on new methodologies, theories, and technologies relevant to your area of expertise.

12. Job Search

Look for job opportunities in academia, research institutions, government departments, or non-profit organizations. Tailor your application materials to highlight your education, research, and practical experience.

By following these steps, you can build a strong foundation and establish yourself as a competent political scientist in South Africa. Remember that persistence, continuous learning, and a proactive approach to networking are key elements in achieving success in this field.



The average Political Scientist Salary in South Africa is R53,758 per month. Understanding the multifaceted factors influencing political scientists’ salaries in South Africa requires a comprehensive examination of education, experience, specialization, location, sector, and economic conditions. As the political landscape evolves, so too will the factors shaping the compensation of these professionals, reflecting the ongoing dynamics of the field and the broader socio-economic context.