Average salaries in Portugal

A new Gulbenkian Foundation study traces the trends in the average salary in Portugal before positioning the country within the framework of the OECD. The conclusions are stark: in Portugal, the level of salaries is low and their growth has only ever been very slow.
11 nov 2022

The study entitled The Average Salary in Portugal – a current portrait and recent trends, promoted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, describes the trends in salaries ever since the introduction of the euro in 2002 through to 2017. Spanning various cycles in the Portuguese economy, the study seeks to present the trends in the salaries paid to different types of workers, across various sectors of economic activity and contributing to raising both the profile and awareness about this particular theme.  

The average salary represents one of the key indicators of the economic wellbeing of a society, with fluctuations in economic activities generating impacts both for the remunerations obtained by employees and for the composition of employment. 

This study reports that in Portugal the level of salaries is low and growth has only been very slow. Between 2002 and 2017, the average real base salary grew by 0.32% per year, rising from €879 to only €925 in those 16 years.  

The economic recovery ongoing since 2013 had practically no impact on growth in the average salary – the downwards trajectory in the average real salary that began in 2011 only inverted after 2016. Furthermore, despite recent data from the INE pointing to higher rates of growth in 2019 (2.4%), one year later Portugal ranked fourth worst among the European Union countries included in the average annual salary ranking produced by the OECD: a third less than in Spain and 90% less than in Germany. 

Read the study O Salário Médio em Portugal – Retrato atual e evolução recente, authored by Priscila Ferreira (U. Minho), Marta C. Lopes (European University Institute) and Lara P. Tavares (Centre of Public Administration and Policies, U. Lisboa), and the briefs Alavancar o Salário no Talento (written by ISEG), Efeitos de Diferentes Tipos de Políticas Económicas na Promoção do Crescimento dos Salários: Evidência Internacional (written by PROSPER – Center of Economics for Prosperity, Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics, U. Católica Portuguesa) and Especialização Produtiva e Salários: Propostas para Qualificar Portugal (written by the Centre–Laboratory of Social Studies associated to U. Coimbra) which further deepen and explore this theme. 

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