It is believed that there are more than 1 million domestic employees within South Africa, representing nearly 20 percent of the employed African females. This makes domestic work an important and most significant jobs in South Africa..
Another group in the informal work sector is gardeners in the home, on whom only a few studies have been conducted. This omission has led us to investigate the industry in 12 cities and towns that are of different sizes located in the Eastern Cape, one of the largest and most deprived provinces.
We sought to establish the percentage of employed gardeners, their wage amounts, and the overall economic worth of the industry. We found that there are less than one million gardeners employed informally. We found who are paid less than that minimum wage however the industry overall receives annual wage payments of approximately R10 billion (US$675 million) and R13.5 billion ($911.5 million).
There are a lot of gardeners employed, and the wage rates
Our main objective was to identify the number of gardeners employed informally within each town in the towns, their names and what wages they earned them. We then gathered that information to determine the value of the industry.
Over the 12 towns in the 12 towns, 58% of households of middle-to-high-income employed informally a gardener. In eleven of the twelve communities, between one half to about two-thirds of middle-to wealthy families had this option; however, Peddie was the only exception, where only 30% of households employed an employee of the garden.
For all 12 cities, it was around 13,200 employed gardeners. The average daily cash salary of R112 ($7.50) was 7% less than the minimum wage in the country paid to domestic staff (R120, which is $8 per day in the year 2019) in addition to 30% less than what is the R160 ($10) each day wage paid to all other sectors.
In total, 45% of households that employed earned less than R120 per day. 19% of them paid R120 daily, while 32% made between R121 to R160 per day, while 3% made greater than R160 per day. In the end, bigger centers didn’t pay more daily pay rates.
The majority of gardeners worked for at least one household for a period of two or three days each week. Around 60% of gardeners had only one employer and had no other job. The majority (70 percent) liked their current job and felt it was beneficial to their health.
However, the majority expressed concern that the wages weren’t enough to meet the necessities like food, education, and transportation expenses.
A majority (98 percent) of gardeners were men, middle-aged (a mean of about 46), and with minimal training (a mean of 5.8 years of education). A third of them had never had a long-term job. The median length of work as a gardener is 6.5 years, and it varies from just a few months to 26 years.
The most popular method of locating a gardener was to directly approach the homeowner offering services (39 percent) or by referring to the recommendations of former employers to households (32 percent).
By aggregating the numbers from our study, we found that there were around 965,000 informal gardeners in the nation. This is higher than those employed in mines (384,000) and agriculture (810,000) sectors and comparable to the transportation sector (943,000) across the nation.
If the majority of gardeners employed informally are employed by at least one house, the total number in the country is more like 724,000. These figures translate to a wage transfer annually of R10.1 billion ($682 million) to R13.5 billion ($911 million) nationwide for the higher and lower estimate of gardeners. The gardening industry is similar to similar to other informal industries in providing significant local employment, however at low levels of survival.