Spanish Wage Trends And Productivity Are Travel Companions

spanish GDPThe upturn in the Spanish economy and the recovery in consumption over the course of 2021 should be accompanied by a gradual recovery in the prices of goods and services

From its pre-crisis maximum level, the real value of salaries has fallen 43 billion euros, mainly in the construction sector. On the other hand, in the services sector wages have risen by some 5 billion euros.

Since the start of the economic recovery, wages have increased below productivity rates. This has been particularly noticeable in the manufacturing sector where the salary per employee has hardly changed in the last three years, compared with productivity growth per employee of over 10%.

In the short-term, both productivity and wages are growing at a a very moderate rate, the latter below the former, so we do not expect any significant tensions in the labour costs in the coming quarters.

The main reason for the recovery in inflation indicators, which we expect will return to interannual rates of around 1.5% in the first half of 2017, is the trend in oil prices at levels of $45-55.

In the medium-term, the margin for increasing salaries will be determined by the advance in productivity.

Regarding salaries, the deterioriation in the distribution of remuneration for labour is concentrated in the first two deciles. In 2010, 10.5% of salaried workers were paid less than the guaranteed mínimum wage (0-1 times the mininum wage, currently 655,2 euros gross per month), compared with 13.0% in 2014.

According to Spain’s Active Population Survey, if we take as a reference only full-time workers, the deterioration in salaries affects the second decile (1-2 times the guaranteed minimum wage). In 2010, 30.3% of salaried workers were included in this category, compared with 32.7% in 2014.

Almost 50% of part-time workers are in the low salary range and just 11.3% are in the high range. This contrasts with the more homogenous distribution in the case of workers with indefinite contracts.

In contrast, 36.4% of workers with indefinite contracts are in the high salary range, compared with 23.4% in the low range.

As wage distribution according to age groups, using the same classification here as The National Statistics Institute, 67.9% of workers under 25 are in the low salary range. The gross wage increases with age, with gradual rises for younger workers and more intensive ones for older employees.

About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.