Brussels, 3 October 2014
Teachers' salaries start to increase in Europe
In 2013/2014, teachers saw their salaries increase in 16 European countries (BE, DK, DE, EE, FR, HR, LU, HU, MT, AT, SK, FI, UK, NO, MK, TR) compared with the previous school year, according to a Eurydice report carried out for the European Commission. The rises were chiefly due to salary reforms and adjustments to the cost of living. The survey covers teachers and school heads at pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary level. In about half of the 33 European countries featured in the report, teachers' purchasing power1 in 2014 is still below the 2009 level.
In a few countries - BE(nl), DK (primary and lower secondary education), LT, LU, AT, FI (primary and lower secondary education) and IT (upper secondary education) – the decrease in purchasing power is relatively small at below 3%, while CY, IT (primary and lower secondary education), NL, PT, RO (primary education) and the UK saw a decrease of 5 to 10%. In IE, ES, RO (secondary education), SI and IS teachers saw a fall in purchasing power of 13% to 17%. The biggest decrease was in Greece with a fall of around 40%.
"Raising the attractiveness of the teaching profession is crucial in order to develop a strong pool of teachers equipped with the skills needed in the 21st century," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. "The quality of education and skills which they impart to our young generation will have a long-lasting impact on future jobs and growth. As the European Union recovers from the economic crisis, Member States should carefully reflect on the role of remuneration and working conditions in attracting and retaining the best candidates into the teaching profession."
The report, Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe (2013/2014), shows that the basic salaries for teachers entering the profession in primary and lower secondary education are lower than GDP per capita2 in around three quarters of the countries surveyed (except in DE, ES, CY, MT, PT, the UK-Scotland, ME, and TR). For the majority of countries, this also applies to teachers' salaries in upper secondary education.
The report also shows that in a large majority of the countries, teachers' salaries increase in line with length of service. However, the level of salary increases and the speed at which they progress differs. In some cases, increases are relatively low but the top pay scale is reached fairly quickly (DK, EE, LV, MT, FI, UK-Scotland) while in other countries high increases are only achieved at the end of a long service period (EL, HU, AT, PT, RO).
Teachers' basic salaries can also increase due to allowances to reflect extra qualifications, performance evaluation, or for teaching children with special needs.
Such incentives can contribute to making the profession more attractive, by shifting from career progression based on length of service to a more development- and performance-oriented approach. Linking the acquisition of new skills and better teaching practices to career progression is likely to serve as an incentive for the entire teaching population, and particularly new teachers, including those attracted into the profession after a career elsewhere.
This annual Eurydice report is published to coincide with World Teachers' Day (5 October); it contains a comparative overview of salaries for full time, fully qualified teachers and school heads at pre-primary, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education levels. It covers 33 European countries (EU Member States apart from Bulgaria, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway and Turkey).
Separate country-specific details cover issues as:
Decision-making bodies responsible for setting teachers’/school heads’ salaries;
Salaries arrangements in the private sector;
Minimum and maximum annual gross statutory salaries of full-time fully qualified teachers/school heads in public schools;
Salary progression in relation to experience;
Information on salary increase/decrease in the last year;
Different types of allowances and the decision-making bodies responsible for their allocation.
The European Commission's Eurydice Network provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 40 national units based in 36 countries participating in the EU's Erasmus+ programme (EU Member States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). It is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, which drafts its studies and provides a range of online resources.
For more information
The full report on Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2013/14 (EN)
European Commission: Education and training
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU
1 Comparing salaries in 2009 and 2014 in real terms and national currency shows that teachers' minimum statutory salaries have been directly affected by the economic downturn in most countries. Changes in statutory salaries are largely due to salary reforms in the education sector, adjustments to teachers’ salaries to keep pace with the cost of living, and general salary changes across the public sector. The absolute change in salaries does not always result in a real change, as the cost of living also changes. About half of European countries applied salary cuts or freezes for public employees in 2009-2014 for one or more years and as a consequence teachers saw their purchasing power decrease.
2 The GDP (Growth Domestic Product) per capita indicates the standard of living in a country.
Figure 1: Changes in teachers' statutory salaries in absolute terms in the public sector in 2013/14 compared with the previous year
The figure presents the absolute changes in the gross annual statutory salary for teachers in 2013/14 compared with the previous year without taking inflation into account. Only changes of 1 % or higher on a year to year basis are considered for increase or decrease.
The basic gross annual statutory salary is defined as the amount paid by the employer in a year. It includes the basic statutory salary together with any general increases to salary scales, the 13th month and holiday-pay (where applicable) excluding employers’ social security and pension contributions. This salary does not include other salary allowances or financial benefits (related, for example, to further qualifications, merit, overtime, additional responsibilities, geographical location, teaching classes in challenging circumstances, or accommodation, health or travel costs).
Figure 2: The minimum and maximum annual basic gross statutory salary in general education of full-time fully qualified TEACHERS in public schools compared with per capita GDP at current price, 2013/14
Minimum and maximum annual basic gross statutory for TEACHERS as % of GDP at current price
Source: Eurydice. UK (1) = UK-ENG/WLS
Minimum and maximum annual basic gross statutory for TEACHERS (in EUR)
Explanatory note (Figure 2)
The gross annual statutory salary is the amount paid by the employer in a year including general increases to salary scales, the 13th month and holiday pay (where applicable) but excluding the employers’ social security and pension contributions. This salary does not include other salary allowances or financial benefits (related, for example, to further qualifications, merit, overtime, additional responsibilities, geographical location, the obligation to teach classes in challenging circumstances, or accommodation, health or travel costs).. The minimum salary is the gross salary received by teachers at the start of their career. The maximum salary is the gross salary received by teachers and school heads on retirement or after a certain number of years’ service. The maximum salary includes only increases related to length of service and/or age. For information regarding decision-making levels, see Figure 1.
The values in the table show the relationship (in percentages) between the minimum and maximum gross annual statutory salary, according to level of education, in EUR and GDP per capita (at current prices in EUR) in the country concerned. The reference calendar year for GDP per capita is 2013. Source: Eurostat (data extracted May 2014). The reference period for salaries is the 2013/14 school year or the calendar year 2014. Exchange rates, source: Eurostat (data extracted May 2014).