Top 10 highest salary paying companies in Nigeria – 2021


    MTN, Seplat Energy, and Lafarge maintained their top spots as the highest salary companies per staff in 2021, with an average annual salary paid per staff of N20.26 million, N19.29 million, and N17.54 million respectively. 

    A compilation of data from the 50 largest companies listed on the Nigerian Exchange by Nairalytics shows that a sum of N846.88 billion was paid as salaries to over 102 thousand employees in 2021 as against N756.38 billion paid in the previous year. 

    This data excludes companies that are not publicly quoted.


    Remuneration has long been linked to employee loyalty and productivity. Notably, a strategic performance and reward system is opined as a major key for any business to preserve the nest resources and earn profits through increased staff productivity. 

    • A closer look at the data reveals FBN Holdings led in terms of aggregate staff salary expenses for the year with N116.26 billion, while Dangote Cement recorded the highest staff strength of 17,747 in 2021.
    • Despite an increase in average salary per staff, most of the staff of the companies reviewed earned below that average.
    • For example, the data reveals only about 39.4% of the employees were paid within the range of the average annual salary, based on the breakdown of staff remuneration range for the year. 

    We compiled a list of the top ten for the year in ascending order.

    1. Union Bank – N13.85 million (Down four spots)

    Union Bank stands tenth on the ranking list, down four spots from the previous year despite an increase in its annual salary per staff from N13.58 million recorded in 2020 to N13.85 million in 2021. 

    • The bank paid a sum of N30.33 billion as staff salary in 2021 to its 2,190 employees compared to N31.74 million paid to 2,337 employees in the previous year.
    • A cursory look at the bank’s financial statement, 69.6% of the employees were paid N5 million and above in 2021. 

    1. Stanbic IBTC Holdings – N14.18 million (Down five spots)

    Stanbic IBTC Holdings paid a sum of N41.06 billion as total staff salary for the 2021 financial year, a slight decline compared to N42.18 billion spent in the previous year.

    • In the same vein, the employees on its payroll reduced from 2,972 in 2020 to 2,895 in the review year.
    • Therefore, the firm’s position dropped five spots to ninth with an annual average salary per staff of N14.18 million in 2021.
    • Noteworthy, about 62% of the bank’s employees were paid over N6 million in the review year. 

    1. FBN Holdings – N14.21 million (up by one spot)

    FBN Holdings, paid a sum of N116.26 billion as staff salary in 2021 to its 8,179 employees, indicating N14.21 million was paid as the average salary per staff for the year.

    • This puts the banking HoldCo in the eighth position, up by one spot from the previous year.
    • In the previous year, the Holding company housing tier-1 banking giant, First Bank had paid N89.26 billion as aggregate staff salary to its then staff strength of 8,342.
    • In the year under review, 44.2% of the staff were paid over N9 million as an annual salary. 

    1. Nigerian Breweries – N14.72 million (up by four spots)

    Consumer goods and brewing giant, Nigerian Breweries paid a sum of N40.5 billion as staff salary in 2021, with a total staff strength of 2,740 members, resulting in 14.72 million salaries per staff for the year, bringing its position four spots up from the previous year. 

    • The company’s N14.72 million annual staff salary, suggests that each member of staff got an average take-home of N1.23 million every month for the year. Its annual staff salary per capital was N9.99 million for 2020.
    • Only 23.9% of the staff of Nigerian Breweries were paid above N10 million annual salary in the year under review.
    • This suggest most of the employees earn below N10 million despite the average salary per staff of over N14.7 million

    1. Nigerian Exchange Group – N14.79 million (Up by two spots)

    A new entrant into our list having just been listed, the Nigerian Exchange Group recorded an annual salary per staff of N14.79 million to stand in the sixth position, two spots up from its eighth position from the previous year.

    • The Exchange spent N3.03 billion on staff salary in 2021 to 205 staff members, indicating N14.79 million per staff. 
    • The bourse paid over N9.5 million to 82 member staff in 2021 as annual salary, representing 40% of the total employee on its payroll. 
    • Thus about 60% of this staff earn below the N9.5 million and perhaps more earn below N14.79 million suggesting a significant few earned much more in the company.

    1. United Capital – N15.05 million (Maintains position)

    United Capital spent a sum of N1.59 billion on employee costs in 2021, comprising N1.55 billion as staff salary, while N38.48 million was spent on contributions to defined contribution plans for its 103 staff, resulting in an annual salary per staff of N14.79 million. 

    • The company increased its annual salary per staff from N14.04 million in 2020 to N15.05 million in 2021, representing a monthly average salary of N1.25 million.
    • It is worth highlighting that only about 15.5% of the employees were paid above N10 million as annual salary in the review year. 

    1. Total Energies – N17.32 million (Up by three spots)

    Total Energies ranks fourth on the list of quoted companies operating in Nigeria with the highest salary per staff for 2021 with N17.32 million, an increase compared to N14.72 million recorded in the previous year. The increase recorded by the company saw its position improve from three spots up from the seventh position in 2020. 

    A sum of N7.55 billion was paid as staff basic salary in 2021 to its 436 employees in contrast to N5.81 billion paid in the previous year to 438 company staff. A further check at the company’s salary breakdown, about 37.6% of the employees were paid above N15 million as salary in 2021. 

    1. Lafarge Africa – N17.54 million (Maintains position)

    Cement-producing company, Lafarge Africa is third on the list, maintaining the same position held in the previous year.

    • Lafarge paid a sum of N23.69 billion as basic salary to its 1,351 employees, leading to a N17.54 million average annual salary per staff.
    • The company increased its staff salary by 16.8% year-on-year from N20.29 billion paid in the previous year to N23.69 billion in 2021.
    • Lafarge Africa paid over N10 million as annual salary to about 27.2% of its workforce in 2021. 

    1. Seplat Energy – N19.29 million (Maintains position)

    Oil and gas upstream company, Seplat Energy came second on the list with an average annual salary of N19.29 million paid to its 532 staff.

    • The company paid a total sum of N10.26 billion as salary in 2021 compared to N8.48 billion spent in the previous year. 
    • The company retained its position in second place, despite increasing its staff strength from 528 in 2020 to 532. However, its 21.3% increase in staff salary saw its annual average salary per staff increase from 16.02 million to 19.29 million.
    • This implies that on average each staff member received N1.61 million monthly as take-home pay.
    • Note that 38% of the employees were paid above N14.69 million as annual salary in 2021 indicating a high percentage of the company earns lower than the average salary.

    1. MTN Nigeria – N20.26 million (Maintains position)

    The Nigerian telco giant paid a sum of N48.38 billion as personnel expenses in 2021, a payout consisting of basic salaries and other employee benefits for the period.

    • However, a total of N34.42 billion was spent on salaries for its 1,699 employees.
    • Consequently, this indicates an average of N20.26 million per employee in 2021, compared to N16.41 million paid on the average in 2020 and an average monthly salary of N1.69 million.
    • Therefore, MTN ranks top on the list in terms of employee salary per capita in the review year.
    • MTN Nigeria paid over N12.5 million as an annual average salary to 36% of its employees in 2021 also indicating that a larger percentage of staff indeed earned below the annual average salary of N20.2 million.



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