Global Wage Comparison

Two indices are presented:

1. Wage in $ adjusted by purchasing power parity (PPP) - expresses wage in dollars that have the same purchasing power as current U.S. dollar has in the USA calculated using a broad basket of commodities.

2. Big Mac Wage - expresses an alternative, more “digestive” way to compare the purchasing power across different currencies. It is published annually by the Economist magazine based on the cost of a “Big Mac” hamburger in McDonald’s restaurants. Please note that this number is intended for informative purposes and is not necessarily representative of prices in any particular restaurant.

The wages are stated in South African rands, but the results are not necessarily comparative due to variance in price levels between countries.Therefore there are also hourly wages in dollars adjusted by purchasing power parity that makes the results totally comparative.

For explanation of the terms used in Global Wage Comparisons click on More information about Global Wage Comparisons.


Nurses in South Africa are paid 78.09 ZAR gross per hour (56.93 ZAR net). They can afford to buy almost three BigMacs per hour of work, while domestic workers four times less. Nurses' wages in Western Europe are almost 100 ZAR higher, but the Big Mac wage is comparable. For more information on global comparison of nurses' wages click on Nurses.