November 25, 2020

The average salary has reached its highest since 2006, but 30% of employees earn less than 1,324 euros


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The average monthly salary, in gross terms, rose 1.9% in 2019, to 1,982.3 euros, its highest figure since the series began in 2006, according to the wage decile prepared by the National Statistics Institute (INE) based on data from the Labor Force Survey (EPA).

It is the third consecutive year in which the average salary has increased after it fell in 2016 for the first time in ten years. However, the increase in 2019 has moderated one point compared to that of 2018, when it rose by 2.9%.

According to INE data, 40% of wage earners (6.66 million) they earned between 1,324.2 and 2,221.2 euros gross per month in 2019, while 30% (almost 5 million) obtained salaries of at least 2,221.2 euros per month and the remaining 30% (another almost 5 million employees) received a salary of less than 1,324.2 euros per month.

To prepare this statistic, the INE orders all wage earners -16,664,900 people during the past year- according to the amount of the monthly salary received and divides them into 10 equal groups, with 10% of the workers in each group.

As a result, the median salary, which divides all workers into two equal parts, those with a higher salary and those with a lower salary, stood in 2019 at 1,684.3 euros gross per month, 2.5% more than in 2018 (42 euros more). This median salary is almost 300 euros lower than the average salary of 2019 (1,982.3 euros).

With the advance registered in 2019, the median salary chains two consecutive years of promotions after having been reduced for the previous three years. In 2013, the median salary was 1,600 euros gross per month and climbed in 2014 to 1,602.5 euros. In 2015, the trend was reversed and was below 1,600 gross euros per month until 2018.

Regarding the type of working day, 35.4% of full-time employees earned at least 2,221.2 euros per month in 2019 and 18.8% received less than 1,324.2 euros. By contrast, 87.9% of part-time employees earned less than 1,324.2 euros per month and only 1.4% earned 2,221.2 euros or more.

The average gross salary of full-time workers reached 2,207.3 euros per month, almost three times more than part-time employees (806.2 euros), although these differences must take into account the gap in hours worked between the two groups.

According to INE data, women, young people, people with a lower level of training, workers with less seniority in companies and those hired temporarily have the lowest wages.

In women, four out of ten received a salary of less than 1,324.2 euros per month last year, compared to two out of ten men. Among young people under 25 years of age, 64.5% received less than 1,324.2 euros, a percentage that falls to 23.3% among wage earners aged 55 and over. Overall, the average gross salary of young people was 1,184.7 euros per month in 2019, almost half that of those over 55 years of age (2,306.3 euros).

The average salary for women stood at 1,773.3 euros per month in 2019, above the 1,708.4 euros in 2018, while the average salary for men increased in 2019 to 2,173.6 euros per month. In this way, the average male salary is 22.5% higher than the female, a difference that has been reduced by four points compared to 2018, when this gap was 26.5%.

One of the reasons that, according to Statistics, explain the salary differences by sex is that women work in a higher proportion than men in part-time jobs, with temporary contracts, and in lower paid branches of activity.

There is also a wage gap depending on the type of contract. Thus, the average monthly salary of the permanent (2,162.5 euros in 2019) is 46.1% higher than that of the temporary (1,479.4 euros). 46.4% of salaried employees with a temporary contract earned less than 1,324.2 euros in 2019, compared to 24.1% of permanent workers who were in the same situation.

Among the factors that explain this salary inequality between temporary and fixed, the INE mentions the higher educational level of permanent contracts and the greater weight of temporary contracts in branches of activity “with a marked seasonal nature” and lower remuneration.

By level of training, the average salary of wage earners with first-stage secondary education (1,333.3 euros per month) is much lower than that of those with higher education (2,493.5 euros), while, by seniority, those with ten or more years working in a company earn an average of 1,000 euros more than those who have been working for less than a year (2,475.4 euros compared to 1,404.8 euros).

The financial sector, the one that pays the most

The lowest wages were concentrated in 2019 in household activities as employers of domestic staff (83.6% below 1,324.2 euros) and in agriculture, livestock and fishing (64.5%). According to the INE, this is due in part to the higher proportion of part-time jobs in the first sector and to temporary employment in the second.

On the contrary, the highest remunerations occurred in financial and insurance activities, where 70.1% received salaries above 2,221.2 euros, followed by the Public Administration (62.3%) and those who work in Education (62%).

The lowest average wages in 2019 were in household activities as employers of domestic staff (872.4 euros gross per month), in hospitality (1,312.1 euros) and in agriculture (1,336 euros), and the highest they corresponded to financial and insurance activities (3,384.1 euros gross per month), electricity supply (2,777.5 euros) and Public Administration (2,680.5 euros).

The public sector charges 53% more

In fact, the INE indicates that 63.6% of public sector workers had a gross monthly salary of at least 2,221.2 euros in 2019, a percentage that drops to 22% in the case of the private sector.

Statistics underlines that this higher concentration of high wages in the public sector is due to the higher percentage of wage earners with higher education, the type of occupation carried out, the lower weight of part-time work and the greater length of service.

Thus, the average gross salary in the public sector reached 2,760.9 euros per month last year, compared to 1,796.9 euros in the private sector. The former has increased by 4% compared to 2018, while the average salary in the private sector grew at a much lower rate, 1.4%. In comparison, public employees earn on average 53% more than salaried employees in the private sector.

Analyzing the data by regions, those with the highest average salaries in 2019 were the Basque Country (2,332.6 euros), Navarra (2,217 euros) and Madrid (2,172.1 euros), while Extremadura (1,682.6 euros) , The Canary Islands (1,749.9 euros) and Andalusia (1,773 euros) registered the lowest.

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