Budapest, Hungary – The wage gap between East and West is as topical as ever, as new data points to persistent differences in the average hourly salary between countries in Europe.
Based on 2016 and 2017 data – the latest years available – Eurostat calculated the average rate of compensation for workers in European Union countries (hourly compensation includes wages, salaries and social contributions paid by employers in the respective countries).
On average, workers in Europe received an hourly salary of 23 euros, according to Eurostat, but huge gaps remain between European countries and regions, mostly between its Western and Eastern halfs: it ranged from 44 euros per hour worked in the Brussels and Luxembourg regions to below 4 euros per hour in several provinces in Bulgaria and Romania.
Taking into account overall countries, the highest hourly compensation rate was reported in Luxembourg (43.9 euros / hour), followed by Denmark (38.9 euros), Belgium (38 euros), the Netherlands (33.6 euros), France (32.8 euros), Germany (31.3 euros) and Finland (30 euros). The lowest hourly pay was found in Bulgaria (4.7 euros) and Romania (5.1 euros).
In almost all EU countries, the highest pay was found in the capital city, at the exception of Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece.
In all V4 countries, the hourly compensation rate was more than twice lower than the EU average. The highest pay rate was recorded in Slovakia, where workers are on average compensated by 9.6 euros per hour worked – with important regional differences between Bratislava, one of the EU’s richest regions in terms of GDP per capita (hourly compensation of 13.2 euros), and the country’s eastern province (8.5 euros).
A similar observation applies for the Czech Republic (9.1 euros per hour), with a much higher compensation recorded in the capital city of Prague (13.6 euros). Poland and Hungary, the third and fourth countries with the lowest compensation rates in the EU, lag behind their Central European neighbours: 6.3 euros / hour in Poland and 6.9 euros in Hungary – according to European data released a few months ago, both Poland and Hungary also rank as the third and fourth cheapest countries in Europe.