Brussels, 5 October 2012
Teachers' salaries reduced or frozen in growing number of European countries
Sixteen European countries have reduced or frozen teachers' salaries in response to the economic downturn. Teachers in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Slovenia are the worst affected by budget restrictions and austerity measures, according to a report published by the European Commission to coincide with World Teachers' Day. Teachers' salaries in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Croatia and Liechtenstein have fallen slightly or stayed the same. However, the Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2011/12 report also shows that in four countries, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Iceland, teachers' salaries have increased since mid-2010, while pay in Romania is now almost back to pre-crisis levels.
"Teachers play a vital role in the lives of children and, as everyone knows, can make all the difference to their future," said Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. "Teachers' remuneration and working conditions should be a top priority in order to attract and retain the best in the profession. But attracting the best teachers is not just about pay: it is imperative that classrooms are well-equipped and that teachers have a proper say on modernising curricula and education reforms."
The report shows that, from mid-2010, the economic crisis had taken its toll on teachers’ pay, with increasing numbers of countries cutting both salaries and allowances such as holiday pay and bonuses. Greece reduced teachers' basic salaries by 30% and stopped paying Christmas and Easter bonuses. Ireland cut salaries for new teachers by 13% in 2011 and those appointed after 31 January this year faced a further 20% drop in pay due to the abolition of qualification allowances. In Spain, salaries of teachers and other public sector employees were cut in 2010 by around 5% and not adjusted to inflation since; similar measures have been applied in Portugal.
In Europe, the maximum salary for senior teachers is generally twice as high as the minimum salary for newcomers. But considering it takes 15-25 years on average to earn the maximum salary, teaching organisations fear that young people may be discouraged from entering the profession.
While entry-level salaries for teachers tend to be unattractive, when allowances for additional responsibilities or overtime are taken into account, most are close to the maximum statutory pay level for teachers in many European countries. For example, in Latvia, actual take-home pay is nearly twice as high as the maximum basic salary. In Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Finland, England and Wales, take-home pay is also higher than the maximum basic salary when allowances are added. This can to some extent be explained by the fact that a relatively high share of teachers are in older age groups. Several countries are facing teacher shortages and have concerns over an ageing workforce ('Key Data on Education in Europe 2012', IP/12/121).
The Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2011/12 report also reveals that while all countries claim that improving pupil and student performance levels is a top priority, only half of the countries covered in the report grant allowances to teachers based on positive teaching performance or student results (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom - England and Wales; Northern Ireland, and Turkey).
Teachers' and school heads' salaries and allowances in Europe 2011/12
This annual report contains a comparative overview of salaries in 32 European countries (EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and Turkey). It covers full-time, fully qualified teachers and school heads at pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education levels.
The report includes information on:
The report is compiled for the European Commission by the Eurydice network, which provides analyses and information on European education systems and policies. The network consists of 38 national units based in the 34 countries which participate in the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme (EU Member States, Croatia, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). Serbia and Switzerland did not take part in the Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2011/12 report. Eurydice is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.
For more information
The full report Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2011/12, in English, is available here: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/facts_and_figures/salaries.pdf
European Commission: Education and training
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Figure 1: Evolution of teachers' and school heads' statutory salaries in absolute terms in the public sector in 2010/11 and 2011/12, compared with previous year
Country specific notes
Ireland: The salaries of the serving teachers in 2011/12 remained the same as in 2010/11. For new entrant teachers, appointed after 1st of January 2010, salaries were reduced by 10%. An additional reduction of 3.2% was applied to entrants after the 1st of December 2011.
France: The general indexation of the salaries was 0,5% in 2010 and there was no indexation in 2011 and in 2012. The freeze of salaries in 2011 and 2012 concerns the index point. In 2011 a first adjustment of salaries occurred for entry teachers at the bottom of the index scales. A second adjustment occurred in 2012. They both consisted in upgrading teachers at a higher index.
The Netherlands: Data not available
Figure 2: Minimum and maximum annual statutory gross salaries of full-time fully qualified teachers in public schools and average actual annual gross salaries of this category of teachers, in Euro Purchasing power standard (EURO PPS) (2011/12)
: Data not available n.a. Not applicable
Country specific notes
Bulgaria: The teachers' statutes determine only the minimum basic statutory salary but not the maximum one. The indicated values are for junior teachers without teacher experience.
Germany: Data from 2010/11 school year.
Poland: Minimum and maximum teacher’s salaries for Primary and Lower secondary education are calculated for teachers with minimum full qualifications. However, approximately 90% of teachers have higher level of qualification and receive higher remuneration.
Norway: Teachers with 4/5 years of initial training;
Figure 3: Trends in the minimum basic gross annual statutory salary in PPS EURO (in 2000 prices) for teachers in primary and upper secondary education (ISCED 1 and ISCED 3), 2000-2012
NB: X axis = Reference years; 2000 to 2012
Y axis = Relative percentage increase, Year 2000=100
Explanatory and Country specific notes
See the full report.