EU Hourly earnings vary widely across occupations

Gross hourly earnings vary considerably across occupations. Based on detailed earnings data for 2018, managers were the best-paid occupation in all EU Member States. At EU level, with mean gross hourly earnings of EUR 28.6, managers were ahead of professionals (EUR 21.4), followed by technicians (EUR 17.8).

At the opposite end of the scale, elementary occupations (such as cleaners and helpers, labourers, food preparation assistants, street and related sales and service workers) were the worst paid occupation in all EU Member States, with the exception of Denmark, where service and sales workers earned less. At EU level, elementary occupations (EUR 9.7/hour) were followed by service and sales workers (EUR 11.2), plant and machine operators and assemblers (EUR 11.5).

This article analyses selected results of the four-yearly Structure of earnings survey (SES), which provides comparable in-depth information on the level of earnings and the individual characteristics of employees.

Largest differences in earnings in Cyprus, smallest in Denmark

All in all, mean gross hourly earnings of the best paid occupation in the EU were around three times higher than those of the least well paid occupation. More precisely, the gross hourly earnings of a manager in the EU (EUR 28.6) were almost three times as high as of an elementary worker (EUR 9.7).

Across the EU Member States, this ratio was highest in Cyprus, where managers (EUR 31.7/hour) were paid on average five times as much as elementary workers (EUR 6.3/hour). In contrast, the ratio was lowest in Denmark, where managers (EUR 50.9) were paid around twice as much as service and sales workers (EUR 22.2).