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Wages in Spain Increased by 6% at the Beginning of the Year

In the major sectors, the industry sector is the one with the highest increase in remuneration, up 6.4% to €2,439 gross per month on average per worker. It is followed by an increase in services, of 6%, with an average of €2,088 gross per month, and finally construction, with an increase of 4.9% and an average monthly salary of €1,931 per month.



Significant rise in wages, in Spain, at the start of the year. Wages grew by 6% year-on-year on average in the first quarter of 2023, up from 4.2% in the previous quarter, according to the latest data from the labor cost survey of the National Statistics Institute (INE). After this increase, the average salary stands at €2,127 gross per month on average.

As the recent wage data published by the Ministry of Finance indicated, workers are recovering purchasing power in recent months for the first time since March 2021 due to higher wage increases and falling inflation.

The INE statistics show that the total labor cost of companies, which includes wages but also other costs such as social contributions, stood at €2,898 per month per worker in the first quarter, up 6.2% compared to the same period in 2022.

As for wages, the average monthly remuneration per worker grew by 6% compared to last year, but if we look at the hourly wage, the increase is 4%.

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Where wages are growing the most

In the major sectors, the industry is the one with the highest increase in remuneration, up 6.4% to €2,439 gross per month on average per worker. It is followed by an increase in services, of 6%, with an average of €2,088 gross per month, and finally construction, with an increase of 4.9% and an average monthly salary of €1,931 per month.

If we look at a greater sectoral breakdown, the activity that most increased its monthly wages is the ‘supply of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning’, almost 12%, which places its average remuneration at €6,686 per month per worker, followed by ‘real estate activities’, 10.5% and wages of €2,479 per month on average.

Two low-wage sectors in the labor market stand out next, and are the focus of attention in recent months due to the increase in unfilled vacancies: commerce and, above all, the hotel and catering industry.

Commerce recorded an increase in wages of 8.9%, up to an average gross remuneration of €1,936 per month, and hotel and catering, 8.8% over last year, which places the average wage at €1,252 per month, the lowest among all the activities broken down by the INE (which does not provide data on work in the home, for example). Looking at hourly wages, the hotel and catering industry stands out with a rise of 11.2%.

Almost 150,000 unfilled vacancies

The INE statistics also provide the only official information published on unfilled vacancies in the labor market. The survey puts the figure at 149,645 jobs in the first quarter of 2023, a figure that has been on the rise in recent years, not only in Spain.

Vacancies are thus up 6.5% on the previous quarter, 11.7% on last year, although the figure is still limited considering a growing labor market, which reached a record 20.8 million working people affiliated with Social Security, according to the latest data from May.

In proportion, vacancies in Spain remained at 0.9% in this first quarter, the same figure as the previous one, according to Eurostat data. It is one of the lowest figures in the EU, which also maintains its average at the start of 2023, at 2.8%, and that among other issues is explained by the fact that Spain still has a lot of unemployment, the highest in the EU.

By sector, most of the vacancies correspond to the public sector: 51,375 positions are part of the ‘Public Administration and Defense; Social Security’. In addition, also noteworthy in number are the 11,439 unfilled vacancies in health and social services activities, with a large presence of the public sector.

Also noteworthy in number are the unfilled vacancies in commerce (14,478), which remain more or less stable; in information and telecommunications, with 11,178 vacancies, which in this case have increased substantially in the last two years; as well as in another highly qualified sector, ‘professional, scientific and technical activities’, with 10,727 unfilled positions.

Although the hotel and catering and construction sectors are much discussed in the media about the lack of workers, according to the INE they are not among the activities with the most unfilled positions. Vacancies in the hotel and catering industry stand at 8,217 positions and in construction at 6,200 positions.


(Featured image by skaramelka via Pixabay)

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Andrew Ross is a features writer whose stories are centered on emerging economies and fast-growing companies. His articles often look at trade policies and practices, geopolitics, mining and commodities, as well as the exciting world of technology. He also covers industries that have piqued the interest of the stock market, such as cryptocurrency and cannabis. He is a certified gadget enthusiast.