Salary Comparisons

 

 

Introduction

The following sections present comparative data on salaries. After some general obervations about the relation between salaries and the organisation of university systems in different countries, we provide figures for different countries in absolute terms, adjusted to the cost of living and compared to GDP per capita. We also show salary progression by experience and gender.

These sections are constantly being updated with new information, given the wide interest in salary issues. As with all the ACO web pages, we invite you to send us comments and useful information and links on salaries in academia. To comment contact us by email.

 

Information on salaries across countries

Comparing salaries across countries requires some preliminary observations. Salary levels vary both across and within countries. Depending on national legislation and university governance, salary levels can be either fixed rigidly by the state or decided by universities.

In 2007, Bruegel calculated 'setting autonomy' by ten European countries and assigned values between 0 and 1. Many countries (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Switzerland) had no autonomy (0). Sweden was the country with the highest autonomy (1), and The Netherlands (0.2), Denmark (0.5) and the UK (0.8) are located in between. The total for the ten European was 0.3 (Bruegel, 2007: 5).

Another issue is salary dispersion. There may be significant variations of salary at entry-level positions in universities in systems where universities are more or less free to set their own wages. Even within the same system salaries may vary according to seniority and/or merit. In systems where salaries progress mainly with seniority this progression is visible and can be measured. This is not true in those countries where salaries are fixed according to merit (e.g. record of publications).

In liberalised systems where universities are free to set their own wages, salary growth can be influenced not only by the dynamics of internal competition in the academic market, but also by external competition by non-academic agents, including private economic actors.

Overall, we can say that salaries are higher in systems where either 1) universities are autonomous, compete in the academic market and use salaries to attract and build a strong faculty, or 2) the state fixes high salaries. The UK and the US are typical examples of the first model. Switzerland is a good example of the second model. Universities from these three countries also dominate in the Shangai system for ranking universities.

 

Average gross salaries

The table below provides a comparison of avarage gross salaries across countires. Titles of academic positions differ form country to country but for means of comparison we have unified them into five categories. In countries where the position or its equivalent does not exist, the space is left blank. For more information on salaries as well as the start and maximum salary level, follow the link to the individual country pages.

Note that Ph.D. Candidate is included as a position, even though it is mostly in the Scadinavian countries that Ph.D. Candidates are considered employees with contractual rights equivalent to other academic positions.


 

Average Gross Salaries, €/month


PhD

Postdoc
Junior
Lecturer/
Assistant Professor
Senior
Lecturer/
Associate Professor


Full
Professor

Belgium
(2007)

--
--
4.318
5.138
6.625
Canada
(2007)
--
--
4.856
6.096
7.145
Denmark (2007)
3.152
4.560
--
5.499
6.974
Finland
(2007)
2.290
3.220
--
3.420
5.218
France
(2007)
--
2.500
--
3.000
4.500
Germany
(2007)
--
--
3.277
3.744
4.546
Ireland
(2004)
--
--
5.250
6.400/7.700*
9.750
Israel
(2007)
--
--
2.650
3.029/3.597*
4.733
Italy
(2004)
--
1.500
2.500
4.000
5.500
Netherlands
(2004)
--
--
3.974
5.541
6.544
Norway (2005)
3.203
3.950
--
4.330
5.297
Poland
(2006/2007)
--
--
586
1.127
1.758
Russia
(2007)
250
--
--
600**
900/1.100***
Spain
(2003)
--
1.584
2.250
2.750
3.584
Sweden
(2006)
2.365
3.317
3.142
3.800
5.145
UK
(2007)
--
3.813
4.766
5.842
6.353
Ukraine
(2006)
50
100
200
400
1.000
USA
(2006)
--
3.708
4.820
5.785
8.529
 
* These figures refer to respectively 'senior lecturer' and 'associate professor' positions.
** This figure refers to the undifferentiated 'lecturer' position.
** These figures refer to respectively the 'professor' and 'chair' positions.
 

All figures are gross. For taxing comparisons see: http://www.oecd.org. All countries provide different social benefits, social security, child care, family allowance, etc, to their citizens.

The salaries are provided by institutions or ministries in the respective countries.

For more detailed information salary levels see the individual country links.

Note that in the different countries there are various ways to top the salary with bonuses and other means of income. This is especially true in the case of Spain and the U.S. where the salaries comparatively seem very low, but the actual salary can be much higher depending on the productivity and outside activities of the individual.

In April 2007 the European Commission published a comparison of researchers salaries across Europe, based on an online survey. The following chart gives the average salaries adjusted to the cost of living in each country:

Average weighted total yearly salary per countries (2006 in €) 

Country Average weighted total yearly salary adjusted Country Average weighted total yearly salary adjusted
Austria 62.406 Latvia 10.488
Belgium 58.462 Lithuania 13.851
Bulgaria 3.556 Luxembourg 63.865
Croatia 16.671 Malta 28.078
Cyprus 45.039 Netherlands 59.103
Czech Republic 19.620 Norway 58.997
Denmark 61.355 Poland 11.659
Estonia 11.748 Portugal 29.001
Finland 44.635 Romania 6.286
France 50.879 Slovakia 9.178
Germany 56.132 Slovenia 27.756
Greece 25.685 Spain 34.908
Hungary 15.812 Sweden 56.053
Iceland 50.803 Switzerland 82.725
Ireland 60.727 Turkey 16.249
Israel 42.552 United Kingdom 56.048
Italy 36.201
 
Source: European Commission, 2007: 43.

The report found bropad differences between salaries in the EU and associated countries, which however were reduced once salaries were adjusted to the cost of living in each country. As expected, countries with a high cost of living were those that paid researchers better. Low-medium salary levels were reported in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region, while high-very high salaries were paid in Central Europe and the Nordic countries.

A few countries (Austria, The Netherlands, Israel, Switzerland and Luxembourg) offered avarage salaries in line with the U.S. considering the cost of living.

Other countries outside the EU (Australia, India, Japan) all have average higher remuneration than the EU-25 area considering the cost of living. In Australia and Japan salaries are similar to those of the U.S. The only country in which the average salary was well below the EU was China.

See the report for further info

 

Salaries compared to GDP per capita

The ratio between the average salary for researchers and the average GDP per capita (adjusted to the cost of living) varies from country to country. Data show different degrees of investment on research by different countries. For example, with declining values Japan, the UK and the US all provide researchers with salaries higher than their country GDP per capita. Spain and Sweden pay around the same as the average GDP, and Italy pays less.

Click here to see the graph

 

Salary progression by experience and gender

The table draws on the Commission's study and reports researchers' annual salary average in the EU and associated countries by gender and years of experience.

The table draws on the Commission's study and reports researchers' annual salary average in the EU and associated countries by gender and years of experience.

Total country annualy salary of researchers in EU25 and associated countries, by gender and level of experience (2006, all currencies in purchasing power parities)

 

Country/years
of experience
(by gender)
 0-4 y.
Female
Male
 5-7 y.
Female
Male
 8-10 y.
Female
Male
 11-15 y.
Female
Male
 >15 y.
Female
Male
Austria 34.473
37.244
41.921
50.446
49.369
63.648
56.817 76.850 64.266
90.052
Belgium 27.767
26.802
35.079   40.933 42.392 55.064 49.705 69.195 57.018
83.326
Bulgaria 2.045
1.961
2.668     2.689 3.292 3.417 3.915
4.144
4.539
4.872
Croatia 9.862
9.458
12.665
12.124
15.468 15.541 18.270 19.922 21.073
25.537
Cyprus 22.234
21.208
28.051 32.147 33.867 43.086 39.684 54.025 45.500
64.964
Czech
Republic
7.478 
10.728
10.792  15.015 14.105 19.301 17.419 23.587 20.733
27.874
Denmark 43.117
42.852
51.460
52.204
59.804 61.556 68.147 70.908 76.490
80.260
Estonia 4.825
7.691
6.939
10.068
7.636 12.444 8.334 14.821 9.053
17.198
Finland 23.369
28.886
29.776  36.724 36.182 44.563 42.589 52.401 48.996
60.239
France 30.223
30.726
38.859
39.225
47.494 50.075 56.129 63.926 64.765
81.608
Germany 22.143
25.716
35.969
38.731
49.795 51.746 63.621 64.761 77.447
77.776
Greece 13.462
11.823
19.131
18.370
24.800 24.917 30.469 31.464 36.138
38.011
Hungary 6.902
10.706
10.152
13.244
13.401 15.783 16.650 18.322 19.899
20.861
Iceland 45.664
44.713
50.070
50.073
52.273 55.432 54.475 60.792 58.881
66.152
Ireland 26.428
20.290
39.691
41.073
52.954 61.856 66.217 82.639 79.480
103.422
Israel 16.329
13.523
22.407
20.453
28.486 30.933 34.564 46.783 40.643
70.754
Italy 12.244
12.760
19.777
23.488
27.310 34.216 34.844 44.944 42.377
55.672
Latvia 12.000
-
14.667
-
17.335
-
20.002
-
22.670
-
Lithuania 7.356
6.836
8.286
9.068
9.216 11.299 10.146 13.531 11.076
15.763
Luxembourg 24.742
43.578
40.365
53.864
55.988 64.150 71.611 74.436 87.234
84.722
Malta 24.364
21.364
27.267  23.746 30.169 26.393 33.071 29.336 35.974
32.606
Netherlands 22.518
31.921
35.655
47.095
48.792 62.269 61.929 77.443 75.066
92.617
Norway 49.031
52.829
54.174
58.346
59.316 63.864 64.459 69.381 69.602
74.898
Poland 5.921
8.453
8.088
10.166
10.255 12.226 12.421 14.703 14.588
17.682
Portugal 10.512
12.051
14.693
17.541
20.535 25.532 28.702 37.164 40.115
54.095
Romania 3.813
2.476
4.696
4.474
5.785 6.473 7.126
8.472
8.778
10.471
Slovakia 5.547
5.895
6.794
7.187
8.041 8.762 9.287 10.681 10.534
13.021
Slovenia 16.424
17.976
22.502
22.372
28.581 27.844 34.659 34.654 40.737
43.130
Spain 16.416
17.228
22.858  22.955 29.300 30.586 35.742 40.754 42.184
54.301
Sweden 28.591
28.012
41.900   42.655 55.209 57.298 68.518 71.941 81.827
86.584
Sweden 28.591
28.012
41.900
42.655
55.209 57.298 68.518 71.941 81.827
86.584
Switzerland 39.599
40.862
55.711
61.075
71.823 81.288 87.935
101.501
104.047   121.714
Turkey 7.674
8.634
10.707
11.387
13.740 15.016 16.773 19.803 19.806
26.116
United
Kingdom
25.411
29.060
37.461 38.608 49.511 51.293 61.561 68.146 73.611
90.536
 
Source: European Commission, 2007: 47

Here too the report found wide differences between countries. For example, in the UK one can expect a high progression moving from the first (0-4) to the last (>15) stage of the career stages considered by the report. At the same time, Denmark offers higher salaries already in the first stage but progression is limited (around 90%) compared to the UK (around 235%).

Women earn less than men, with significant differences in all the countries. In some (Estonia, Czech Republic, Israel and Portugal) the gap is above 35%. In others (Bulgaria, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Malta) it is below 15%.

See the report for more info.

 

Bibliography

Bruegel (2007), 'Why Reform Europe's Universities?', Policy Brief Series, 2007/04.

European Commission (2007), Study on the Remuneration of Researchers in the Public and Private Commercial Sectors (pdf).

Page last updated on 27 September 2011