Agile Career Journey Survey – 2019 Results


At SUGSA we aim to build a thriving group of like-minded people who are keen to share knowledge, experiment, learn, and grow (themselves and each other). With this in mind, we hope that the results of this survey will provide valuable insights for career journeys within our community.

Thank You

On behalf of our community, SUGSA wishes to thank Sam Laing and Karen Greaves for paving the way for us to re-launch this survey! We also want to thank Brand Zietsman for helping us with the question set and for the amazing interactive graphs!

Please note: If you’re accessing this from a smartphone, it may be best viewed in landscape mode.

Where do our respondents work?

A total of 127 people responded to the survey. More than half of these respondents (53%) work in Gauteng and just over a third (35%) in the Western Cape, with a small number working in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) or multiple locations. Interestingly, over 8% of the respondents do some or all of their work outside South Africa.  

In Gauteng the respondents were 63% Agile / Organisational Coaches and 33% Scrum Master / Team Coaches. The Western Cape respondents included slightly fewer Agile / Organisational Coaches (57%) and a touch more Scrum Master / Team Coaches (36%). The respondents in other roles made up almost 7% of the Western Cape segment.

Predominantly, the respondents who work in KZN, multiple locations, or outside South Africa are (94%) Agile / Organisational Coaches.

Is there a pattern between earnings and location?

Agile / Organisational Coach

In the Western Cape, 80% of all the respondents in this category earn between R35 000 and R80 000 pm. Half of those report earnings in the R50 000 – 65 000 pm bracket. 

In Gauteng, earnings of the majority (78%) are spread more evenly between R35 000 and R100 000 pm.

Scrum Master / Team Coach

The majority of respondents in both regions (82%) reported earning between R20 000 and R65 000, with 38% of Western Cape respondents earning in the R35 000 – 50 000 bracket, and 25% in the R50 000 – 65 000 bracket, whereas earnings in Gauteng are more evenly spread between R35 000 – 50 000 (32%) and R50 000 – 65 000 (36%). 

A small number of respondents in each region earn in the R65 000 – 100 000 range with an occasional single outlier earning at the top or the bottom of the scale.

Is there a relationship between remuneration and Agile Experience?

Agile / Organisational Coach

Up to about ten years’ experience, there is a general trend showing that respondents earn more as their experience level increases.

Scrum Master / Team Coach

In this group, the trend is less clear. This appears to be influenced by people who have more non-Agile experience eventually moving into the Agile / Organisational Coach role, at which point previous non-Agile experience plays a bigger role in current earnings.

Is there a relationship between remuneration and Total or IT experience?

There is a slight trend that respondents earn more as their level of experience increases. We observed large variations in earnings regardless of the amount of total or IT-specific experience.  

Looking at all the graphs relating to remuneration and experience (Agile, total, IT-specific) it appears that although one may earn a little more as an Agile / Organisational Coach than a Scrum Master / Team Coach, and a little more based on more workplace experience, the range of earnings is broad and variable.

We believe that the level of earning in Agile roles is influenced by what one earned in the previous non-Agile position, as well as the negotiation process for the current role’s earnings.

What did our respondents do prior to their Agile roles?

Agile / Organisational Coach

A large number of these coaches were previously project managers (36%), developers (22%), and in management roles (15%). 

More than 80% were previously working in IT / technical / project environments. This relates to technical / project spaces still being the most likely business areas to embrace Agile approaches.

Despite this dominant trend it is interesting to see previous roles such as psychologist, change manager, and facilitator; possibly indicating a shift in the understanding of the skills that make up the coaching role.

Scrum Master / Team Coach

The majority of these respondents (85%) came from a fairly even spread of IT / technical / project roles, with a further 13% from management roles, and a small number (3%) who came from change management. 

It will be interesting to see how this changes as Agile approaches are embraced by other areas of business, and the understanding of the required skills for these roles improves.

Is remuneration dependent on our respondents’ employment type?

Agile / Organisational Coach

It appears that those contracting start at a higher earning level than permanent employees and are more likely to earn in the >R65 000 pm bracket than permanent employees.

The results for self-employed participants are interesting with an even spread between three distinct earning bands. This may represent an intersection between how the person prices their services and the size of their client’s business.

Scrum Master / Team Coach

Of these respondents those contracting start at a slightly higher level than permanent employees with the peak being about the same for both.

Sixty-seven percent of permanent employees earn between R35 000 and R65 000.

Forty percent of contract employees earn between R50 000 and R65 000 with the balance evenly spread across the R35 000 to R100 000 earning bands.

There were no self-employed respondents in this category. In this role independent people are more likely be taken on as contract employees.

Learning Time

Our respondents appear to value learning with 38% spending 1 to 3 days a month on it and a further 30% committing more than 5 days a month.

Training Funding

Multiple responses were allowed for this question – the figures shown are number of respondents rather than percentages. 

A large number of the 127 respondents (~20%) are taking full responsibility for funding their own learning, with ~27% doing so through work-back agreements. About 34% of the respondents said the costs were fully covered by their employer although some of these also indicated that they sign work-back agreements.

Development Support

Generally, it appears that employers support their people’s development by letting employees use time for learning. Seventy-seven percent of respondents attend training and 33% attend conferences. It is encouraging to see that 41% are able to use time during working hours for learning.

Looking at both the graphs of “how we spend our time learning” and “how many approaches are used”, more than half the respondents are using two, three or four different approaches to their learning. Most of their time is spent engaging in mentoring others or being mentored, reading, and attending group events. A small but definite slice of time (12%) is being used for learning through pair work.

How do we grow and share?

The most popular ways to grow and share are attending Meetups (80%) and training courses (75%) with attending local conferences (57%) and coaching circles (24%) also playing a strong role. 

Twenty to thirty percent of the respondents share their knowledge and experience by delivering training or giving talks at local events.


At this point in South Africa, what you earn as a Scrum Master or Coach shows little correlation to role or experience. It appears to be more influenced by previous earnings, employers’ budgets, and the person’s ability to negotiate.

The majority of Scrum Masters or Coaches are coming to their Agile roles from the IT / technical / project business areas or from management. This mirrors the take-up of Agile practices by IT / technical spaces and may change as Agile methods become more broadly applied across businesses. 

There is a strong culture of learning and sharing, among Scrum Masters and Coaches. Employers are generally supportive of giving time for this and a little less for funding it.