The annual #EurydiceEU update on Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe has just been released on occasion of the World Teachers’ Day. This year, for the first time, Eurydice also published as open data the country sheets related to Teachers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Allowances in Europe which have been collected jointly by the Eurydice and the OECD/NESLI networks.
Teachers’ remuneration and career prospects are an intrinsic part of policies aiming to attract the best-qualified graduates to the profession and retain the best teachers. The publication shows the composition and differences in teachers’ and school heads’ earnings among the Eurydice countries. It includes a comparative analysis and national data sheets with detailed information on the salaries, allowances and other additional payments that teachers and school heads receive.
– There are significant differences between European countries in the statutory salaries for teachers entering the profession. Gross statutory starting salaries range from around EUR 4,000 to EUR 92,000 per year, depending on the country. Salaries may also be expressed in purchasing power standard (PPS), an artificial common reference currency unit that eliminates price level differences between countries to facilitate international comparison. In PPS, there are still significant variations across countries, but with a reduced amplitude. Gross statutory starting salaries can go from around PPS 8,000 to around PPS 59,000 per year.
– In 11 countries, all beginning teachers have the same statutory salary regardless of the education level at which they teach. In most countries, salary differences between education levels are linked to differences in minimum qualification requirements. On average, pre-primary teachers tend to earn less, and upper secondary teachers generally earn more.
– The potential for statutory salaries to increase over the career span varies considerably. Depending on the country, starting salaries can increase during a teacher’s career by anything from 16% (in Denmark and Serbia) to 143% (in Cyprus). The average number of years necessary to reach the top of the salary range goes from 12 years in Denmark to 42 years in Hungary. In Ireland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Poland, teachers’ statutory starting salaries can increase by more than 60% in the first 15 years in service, and even more in the following years.
– Between school years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, teachers saw their statutory salaries increase in the majority of education systems, but salary increases were generally modest or index-linked to inflation.
– In ten countries, starting salaries of teachers (adjusted for inflation) remained the same or lower between 2014/2015 and 2020/2021. In contrast, the highest increases – more than 30% – over the last five years can be found in several central and eastern European countries (Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia), and in Iceland and Serbia.
– Teachers’ average actual salary level is strongly correlated to the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of a country (i.e. the higher the GDP per capita, the higher the average annual salary). It is above the GDP per capita for all or most education levels in two-thirds of the education systems. However, it is below the GDP per capita at all educational levels in seven countries (in Czechia, Estonia, Ireland, Hungary, Romania, Sweden and Norway). In seven others, it is the case for at least one education level (pre-primary education only in Denmark, Malta, Slovakia and Finland; pre-primary and primary education in Italy and Iceland; all education levels except general upper secondary education in Latvia).
– School heads are often paid on a different salary scale from teachers, and their salaries tend to increase with the size of the school. In most education systems, there are significant salary differences among school heads, depending on the size or other characteristics of the school and on other factors, such as the head’s experience and responsibilities.
– School heads’ minimum statutory salary is lower than the salary of teachers with 15 years’ experience in the French Community of Belgium and Czechia. This is also the case at some education levels or for heads of small schools in a few other countries.