The average salary is Spain is said to be 21,500 euros a year which is almost half the 40,000 euros of the UK, Holland and Germany and 20 per cent lower that the EU norm.
The data comes from a report issued by Adecco and the IESE business school and is based on the evolution of salaries in 14 European countries between 2003 and 2008.
The average wages in the Old Continent was 27,036 euros in 2008. The UK led the rankings with 46,058 euros for full-time employees followed by Holland (42,720 euros) and Germany (40,914 euros).
At the bottom end of the scale are Hungary, Slovakia, Rumania and Bulgaria all of whom joined the EU in 2007. Here the average salary does not rise above 10,000 euros a year.
However the gap between the highest average earning nation and the lowest is closing. The three top countries earned 11.9 per cent more than those at the bottom in 2003 but that had dropped to 7.8 in 2008.
In Spain manufacturing clocked up the highest amount with an average of 24,023 euros whilst the private services sector earned just over 20,000 and construction 19,910 euros.
Male workers earned 28 per cent more than their female counterparts in all 14 countries. That difference in salaries was maintained over the five year period of the survey.
However in Spain the gap is significantly wider putting the nation in fourth place in the league. Here men earn 34.4 per cent more that women (24,020 and 17,866 respectively) but the gap is closing as in 2003 Spain was in second place with 38 per cent.
I know many Spaniards and ex-pats living in Spain who would be more than pleased to earn 21,500 euros a year. Estanislao Ramírez, the president of the APCG – the journalists association of the Campo de Gibraltar – tells me that the average salary of journalists in the private sector is around 1,000 euros and in the public 1,700 euros – both well below the Spanish norm. This will come as no surprise to my readers in the media who work in Spain... but then since when has a hack’s lot been a happy one.
Happy or not there are families in Andalucía and wider Spain existing, if that is the right word, or less than 500 euros a month. Real poverty is in our midst and whilst we have to work to raise the average earnings generally in Spain our first priority must surely be to help those for who even 21,500 euros is a pipe dream.