According to WorldData, Spain occupied number 29 in a classification of 88 countries, taking the latest official figures available (2016). The quotient of our Gross National Income and our population resulted in $27580.
Among the members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Spain occupied the number 20 of its 35 members (2016), presenting an average salary of $37333. The OCDE makes a more complex calculation to obtain this figure, adding into the equation factors such as number of employees, average weekly hours of full-time and all-time employees, and Purchasing Power Parities (PPP).
Eurostat gives us other useful rankings/statistics even if the latest available ones are from 2014. Spain’s median gross hourly earnings were almost 10€, 13th position in the EU list of 28. In terms of the percentage of employees making less than two thirds of the median gross hourly earnings, we found that almost 14% of the employees in Spain fall in that category, putting us in the 19th position out of 28. In this case, Latvia, Romania and Lithuania were first with around 25% of their workforce there, and Finland, Belgium and Sweden were last with around 5%.
These findings lead us to think that, despite some outrageous compensation executives’ exiting packages we have observed in the last years, the average wages should not be excessively inflated by executives’ big salaries, showing also that inequality is, on paper, lower than in most of other EU countries.
According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Spanish Statistics Bureau), the average annual gross salary in 2016 was €22771, whereas the average annual total cost for what employers have to pay was €30311 (the main contribution to that figure are Social Security employers’ contributions (€7056 average per worker)).
Continuing with the 2016 Annual Labour Costs Survey where these figures come from, the regions with higher net labour costs (calculating by subtracting from the gross labour costs the figure (small amount) of employment subsidies from Public Administration) were Madrid, Basque Country (Bilbao as its main city), and Catalonia (Barcelona). The lower ones are found in Extremadura (Badajoz), Canary Islands (Las Palmas and Santa Cruz), and Galicia (Coruña).
Per industries, the Spanish Statistics Bureau found (in 2014) that on average the highest annual wages were found in energy delivery, minerals extraction, finance and insurance, and information technologies (IT). The lowest ones were registered in retail, entertainment, administrative tasks, and hospitality. Interestingly, many people coming from abroad are employed in finance, IT, and hospitality. Other activities where they are employed are healthcare and teaching (both slightly over average).
Note that although some years have gone by since these surveys were run, there has been close to zero inflation, together with a stable situation during this period, making us think that today’s picture is similar.
Although I find that, overall, salaries are low in Spain, in a future post we will get into more details by mainly analysing how much your money can buy you here. Nevertheless, you can also make some assumptions/observations as of the Cost of Living post mentioned at the beginning.
What’s you view on wages in Spain? How do they compare to other places you have been in? Any industry you recommend from that perspective? And region?
Links of Interest:
BBVA, Cómo se calculan todos los costes de personal (How to calculate all the employees’ costs)
Eurostat, Median gross hourly earnings
Eurostat, Low-wage earners
Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Anual average wages per industry
Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Anual Labour Costs Survey
Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Total salary costs per region
Investopedia, Gross National Income
WorldData, Average income around the world
OECD, Average Wages
Photos: A teddy beard holding a 50 euro note. Median gross hourly earnings per EU country. Head Quarters of the Spanish Statistics Bureau (“Instituto Nacional de Estadística”).