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How do average salaries compare across Europe?

EU employee regulations are generally quite strong with an emphasis on individual working conditions and labour rights, including the right to information, anti-discriminatory laws and job security.

However, when it comes to salaries and wages across EU member states, there are still significant variations, depending on a number of factors, such as laws, demand, inflation and more. 

According to Statista, in 2022, the average annual wages ranged from €73,642 in Iceland, down to €24,067 in Greece.

The highest paying countries in 2022 were Iceland (€73,642), Luxembourg (€72,529), Switzerland (€67,605), Belgium (€63,758) and Denmark (€59,405), whereas the lowest payers were Greece (€24,067), Slovakia (€24,337), Hungary (€26,376), Portugal (€29,540) and Czech Republic (€30,967).

According to Eurostat, the average hourly labour cost in the EU was €30.5. Average annual salaries for single employees without children were €26,136. Working couples with two children clocked in an average of €55,573 yearly.

The unadjusted gender pay gap was 12.7% in 2021, with the largest gap being seen in Estonia, at 20.5% and the smallest gap being in Luxembourg at -0.2%. However, according to the European Commission, the pay gap increased 13% in 2023.

Back in 2020, the European Commission announced a strategy to attempt to bridge this gap by 2025. This was followed by the commission launching the Pay Transparency Directive in June 2023, with a €6.1 million fund to help implement the same. This made it easier for employees to recognise pay discrimination. It also functioned as a guideline for employers.

Typically the highest paying sectors in Europe are finance, insurance, electricity, mining, information technology, retail and education. On the other