Average income in Spain significantly lower than European average

by Lorraine Williamson
average income

MADRID – In 2020, the average gross annual salary in Spain was €26,537. That is over €9,500 less than the average annual salary in the Eurozone, which amounts to a difference of 26.4%. This is apparent from a study on the average income by the Spanish trade union UGT. 

The UGT study bases its conclusion on data published by the OECD. The average income in Spain is even 37.7% below that of Germany, 30.3% below that of France, and 5.2% lower than the average income in Italy. UGT’s research also shows that the average income in Spain is now relatively lower than it was 20 years ago. While the average annual income in the Eurozone has increased by 12.5% in 20 years, it has fallen by 1.1 percentage points in Spain. This means that a household with an average income now has less to spend compared to 20 years ago. 

According to the UGT, this makes it clear that just raising the minimum wage (SMI) is not enough to guarantee a minimum standard of living for everyone who works in Spain. The trade union, therefore, considers collective wage bargaining to be of crucial importance in order to gradually move closer to the average wage of the European member states. 

The UGT also emphasises that the research shows the still existing salary inequality between men and women in Spain. The most recent data from 2019 shows that women earn an average of €5,252 less per year than their male colleagues (€21,682 versus €24,938). In concrete terms, this means that one in four women (25.7%) earned less than the minimum wage in that year, versus just over one in ten men (11%). 

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Increase SMI of great importance 

The gender pay gap narrowed between 2016 and 2019, precisely in the period when the SMI gradually increased by 37.4%. The UGT concludes from this that raising the minimum wage is an effective means of reducing the wage inequality between men and women. Nevertheless, the UGT emphasises that raising the SMI to 60% of the average income is not sufficient to guarantee a dignified life for everyone. 

In 2020, 11.8% of workers in Spain lived at or below the poverty line. That is the second-highest percentage within the Eurozone. According to the union, an increase in the SMI will mainly benefit this group of people, who are also experiencing the greatest consequences of the current inflation. 

Also read: Lack of equality in the workplace in Spain

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