The average salary in Spain is 1,751 euros but it is 20% lower than the EU average

The average salary of Spaniards stood at the end of 2021 at 1,751 euros per month. A historical figure, according to the latest report published this Tuesday by Adecco, but which is nevertheless 20.2% lower than the average remuneration registered in the group of countries of the European Union, which amounts to 2,194 euros per month . Specifically, on average, the more than 20 million Spanish workers obtain income from work 443 euros less, that is, 5,316 euros less per year.

In spite of the difference with the neighbors of the community environment -it should be remembered that precisely the salary factor is one of the main incentives for foreign competitiveness of national companies-, Spain is in an intermediate position in the salary ranking of the 27 countries of the European Union. Specifically, there are 15 European countries whose average wages are lower than our country's, while the remaining 11 have higher wages than Spain.

Thus, although in 2019 the gap between both remunerations, the average of Spain and the EU, grew 2.7 percentage points (in 2018 it widened another 2.6 percentage points), since then until now it has been reduced 0.5 percentage points.

Spain, in the middle group

In this sense, the 'VII Adecco Monitor on Salaries: Spanish remuneration in the European context', distributes the 27 EU countries into three groups according to the level of their average monthly salary. In the first place, there are eleven countries with an average salary of less than 1,100 euros per month. Among them are all the EU partners from Eastern Europe: Bulgaria (562 euros), Romania (718 euros), Hungary (798 euros), Poland (833 euros), Croatia (863 euros), Latvia (892 euros), Slovakia ( 977 euros), Lithuania (1,007 euros), Greece (1,034 euros), Estonia (1,053 euros) and the Czech Republic (1,078 euros). Despite being included in the same group, there are appreciable differences between them, since, for example, the average salary in the Czech Republic is practically double that of Bulgaria.

There are seven other countries with an average remuneration of more than 1,100 euros, but less than 2,500 euros, that make up the group with intermediate salaries. Among them is Spain, with the already indicated 1,751 euros. In addition to our country, this group includes Portugal (1,106 euros), Cyprus (1,309 euros), Malta (1,329 euros), Slovenia (1,417 euros), Italy (2,074 euros) and France (2,446 euros). Within this group there are also wide differences: the average salary in France is double that of Portugal.

Finally, a group of nine countries enjoy average remuneration of more than 2,500 euros per month. These are the cases of Finland (2,603 ​​euros), Sweden (2,623 euros), Austria (2,788 euros), Belgium (2,830 euros), Holland (2,883 euros), Ireland (2,920 euros), Germany (3,003 euros), Denmark (3,458 euros ) and Luxembourg (3,502 euros). This group is more homogeneous than the previous two, since the maximum difference is less than 35%.

The above data indicate that within the EU there are countries whose average salary exceeds the average remuneration of other partners by more than 6 times. The extreme case is the one that emerges from comparing the average salaries of Luxembourg (3,502 euros/month) and Bulgaria (562 euros/month), which are separated by a gap of 2,940 euros per month. In a single month, an average Luxembourger worker earns the same as a Bulgarian colleague in more than 6 months.

The gap narrows

However, the disparity between the different European salaries has been reducing every year, at least since 2010, when the highest remuneration (which at that time was 2,900 euros and also corresponded to Luxembourg) multiplied by 11 the lowest (265 euros, from Bulgaria). In the Spanish case, its relative situation is of clear advantage compared to the countries of Eastern Europe, but it is unfavorable compared to the most advanced countries of the EU.

The salary gap between Spain and Germany reached 1,251 euros per month (15,012 euros per year) in 2021, which implies that Spanish remuneration was 41.7% lower than that of Germany. This difference means, for example, that an average Spanish wage earner needs to work 20 and a half months to have an income similar to that of an average German wage earner in one year.

On the other hand, the comparison is a little more favorable with respect to France, although even so the difference between both average remunerations reaches 695 euros per month (8,340 euros per year). This means that the average Spanish salary is 28.4% lower than the French.

Despite the above, the level of remuneration in Spain is enviable for fifteen EU countries, doubling or more the average salary of six of them. The extreme cases arise from the comparison with Bulgaria and Romania. In the first case, the average Spanish salary is more than three times higher than the Bulgarian one (1,751 and 562 euros/month, respectively), with a monthly difference of 1,189 euros (14,268 euros/year). For its part, the average remuneration in Spain is 2.4 times that of Romania (1,751 and 718 euros/month, respectively). In the latter case, the monthly difference is 1,033 euros (12,396 euros/year).

The above figures are equivalent to saying that the income received by an average Bulgarian worker after a year is similar to what a Spanish colleague earns in just under four months. At the same time, to earn the same as an average Romanian worker in a year, a Spanish employee needs to work five months.

Without reaching such a large magnitude, Spain's salary advantage is very large compared to Portugal. Specifically, the average Spanish salary is 58% higher than that of the Portuguese country (1,106 euros/month), which translates into a difference of 645 euros per month (7,740 euros/year).

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