Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC) carried out a survey on payment of salaries in forex. The aim of the survey was to understand the prevalence of payment of salaries in hard currency and how companies are financing these practices.
The economy has experienced significant changes since July 2018. The introduction of the Transitional Stabilisation Program by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development followed by the monetary policy by the Reserve Bank has brought in new challenges for businesses. Whilst the policy interventions aimed to stabilise the economy and encourage growth, the economy appears non-responsive and as a matter of fact continued to deteriorate. Of particular concern is the exchange rate of both the formal and informal market that continues to devalue the new RTGS currency. This is causing inflation.
Employers are making adjustments to salaries to cushion their employees against the loss in value. However, many organisations have not yet made any permanent changes. The findings presented in this report should therefore not be seen as definitive and permanent. The economy is still volatile and unpredictable, therefore any decision pertaining to remuneration must be done after having done a proper assessment of the decisions impact on your ability to pay and sustainability.
In this survey we investigated the prevalence of payment of salaries in forex by different organisations in Zimbabwe. Most participants were from the financial sector (19%) followed by mining sector (10%) and Non-Governmental Organisations (10%).
Only 37% organisations are paying their employees in forex and most of them are from Non-Government Organisations (27%) and Mining Sector (20%).
The general trend emerging is that organisation that export their products or receive international donor funds/ grants are paying their employees either partly or fully in forex.
A questionnaire with 10 questions was emailed to human resources professionals (Human Resources Officer to as high as Human Resources Director) from various organisations on our mailing list. A total of 83 executives from different organisations and economic sectors participated in this survey.
Questionnaires were completed online and responses were downloaded, cleaned, coded and analysed in SPSS and Excel. We have detailed below the more specific demographic information and the results.
Distribution of participants by economic sector is shown in the graph below:
Financial services (19%), mining sector (10%) and Non-Governmental Organisations (10%) are by far the largest industries in this survey.
The staff complement for organisations that participated in this survey is shown in the graph below:
Most organisations have a staff complement of between 100 and 499.
From this survey, only the educational sector has a staff complement of 5000 and above. This could have been a respondent from the government.
Organisations’ average annual revenue last year is shown in the graph below:
Most organisations made an average revenue of US$1,000,001 – US$10,000,000 per annum in 2018.
Those in the education and engineering sector earn annual revenue of above US$50 million.
The export status of organisations is shown in the graph below:
69% of organisations in the survey said they are not an exporter, 24% said they export some of their products and 7% said they export everything.
50% of organisations in the manufacturing sector said they are not an exporter and 50% said they export some of their products/services.
The Forex earning status from local trading is shown in the graph below:
Most organisations (46%) said they earn less than 25% in USD from local trading.
Companies in the transport and logistics sector that participated in this survey said they 100% of their revenue in RTGS$.
The revenue earnings from exports for organisations that participated in this survey are shown in the graph below:
57% of the participants in this survey said they earn less than 25% in USD from exports and only 21% said they earn 100% revenue from exports.
59% of organisations that participated in this survey said they do not pay any of their employees in forex, 37% said they pay in forex, 2% they said still under consideration and 1% said they pegged salaries in USD but on the payday, they pay at the interbank rate.
Outlined below is the prevalence of salary payments in USD by economic sector.
Only some of the organisations in the energy and oil sector said we pegged salaries in USD but on payday we pay at the interbank rate.
The table below reports the mean percentages that employees are paid in forex for the different job levels:
Most employees that are payed in forex are from Non-Governmental Organisations (27%) followed by those from the Mining (20%) sector.
The graph below shows how often organisations are planning to review salaries. This is regardless of where they are paying in USD or RTGS.
42% of participants in this survey said they review salaries quarterly, 29% said yearly, 17% said half-yearly and 12% said they review monthly.
All organisations in the engineering sector that participated in this survey said they review their salaries monthly.
Most organisations that reviewed their salaries this year said the major consideration is inflation (74%) followed by those that said company performance (39%) with the exchange rate (19%) being the least.
Only 37% of organisations that participated in this survey are paying their employees in forex and most of them are from Non-Government Organisations (27%) and Mining Sector (20%). The general trend emerging is that organisation that export their products or receive international donor funds/ grants are paying their employees either partly or fully in forex.
Companies need to earn foreign currency for them to be able to pay salaries in forex. The call by some trade unions and employee representatives for employers to pay in forex will simply be impossible to meet if the employers do not earn foreign currency.
Employees need must be weary of their ability to pay, as well the sustainability of paying salaries in forex. We advise that if an employer wishes to pay salaries in forex but however realises that they cannot commit to regular monthly payment; paying discretionary once-off forex payments would be more feasible. However, before making any such payment, the employer must clearly communicate to employees that is a discretionary once-only payment – so as to manage expectations.
Regardless of the calls by Government for business to desist from the basing their prices against the United States Dollar, businesses seem to be increasing denominating or linking their budgets and prices to the USD. The implication is that the economy is increasingly re-dollarizing. We are anticipating that this trend will increase as businesses seek to safeguard themselves against the erosion of value through inflation. If this trend continues as we are anticipating, we are also likely to see more employers starting to pay either in hard currency or the RTGS equivalent. What is not yet clear is if employers will maintain the face value of previously denominated USD salaries of if they will make changes to these salaries.
About the Authors
Memory Nguwi (Registered Psychologist) is the Managing Consultant of Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC). You may contact him by email at email@example.com
Collin Bhiza is the Manager – HR Consulting at Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC). You may contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Taurai Masunda is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC). You may contact him by email at email@example.com
If you would like to discuss this report, please contact one of the authors.