Original Research

Reward preferences in South Africa’s media industry

Mark H.R. Bussin, Nokwanda N. Thabethe
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a1010 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.1010 | © 2018 Mark H.R. Bussin, Nokwanda N. Thabethe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2017 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Mark H.R. Bussin, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Nokwanda N. Thabethe, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Orientation: Employee remuneration is a key driver of employee engagement and thus organisational performance. A thorough understanding of employee needs is essential to enable management to develop an equitable mix in reward strategy.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine context-specific reward preferences in order to determine the overall reward preferences of employees in the media industry with the aim of improving existing reward strategies.

Motivation for the study: The focus on reward preferences has emerged as a critical element in identifying what really motivates productive behaviour within the workplace. A better understanding of reward preferences is required to find ways to improve performance within the world of work.

Research approach/design and method: The research was a quantitative, empirical and descriptive study of reward preferences in an industry-specific context. A self-administered survey was used as a measure and analysed using non-parametric tests to identify variances between dependent and independent groups, testing for internal consistency and non-parametric analysis of variance (ANOVA).

Main findings: The following five reward preferences were rated as most important by participants: base pay or salary, merit increase that is linked to personal performance, incentives and bonus, safety and security at the workplace, and market-related salary. The results indicated that monthly salary (base pay) is the most preferred and/or significant reward category in attracting, retaining and motivating employees.

Practical/managerial implications: Managers in South Africa’s media industry should investigate their organisations’ rewards through the perspective of the total rewards concept to assess and develop an equitable mix in reward strategy. A comprehensive analysis of reward preferences is required to ensure that all aspects that promote the attraction, retention and motivation of employees are taken into consideration. The importance of base pay should not be under-estimated as it represents the most significant reward preference for employees in the South African media industry.

Contribution/value add: This study adds to the body of social science research, providing a deeper understanding of reward preferences, specifically in the context-specific setting.


reward preferences; total rewards; remuneration; compensation; attraction; retention; engagement; South Africa


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