Sweden tops Europe’s wage table

Sweden flagSwedes earn more per hour than anyone else, on average, in the European Union. Their hourly rate of 350 kroner is better than any other of the 27 member nations.

According to Germany’s official statistics agency, Statisches Bundesamt, average hourly wages in Sweden were the equivalent of €41.90, making them the highest in Europe, compared to the lowest of  €3.70 per hour in Bulgaria.

But it has some speculating about Swedish labour pricing itself out of the market. However, Mats Dillén, CEO of Sweden’s National Institute of Economic Research (Konjunkturinstitutet), doesn’t think so.

“Even if we have high costs per worker, we still have an industrial sector that is pretty competitive,” he said.

Figures cited recently reveal that despite this, Sweden’s productivity has outpaced its regional rivals. The country’s productivity has grown by 2.5 per cent in the past five years,, compared to a less than one per cent in Germany. The EU average was 1.6 per cent.

Sweden scores well in competitiveness (4th worldwide) and is among the top 10 countries for GDP output per man hours, with its labour force earning significantly more than peers in the US. With much of its economy export lead, and Europe being its chief market, Sweden’s competitive edge is welcome news.

However, economists point out that Sweden is one of the highest taxed countries in the world, and although personal tax has fallen in recent years the total take home wage is calculated to be less than half. This places the high wages in perspective.

The country prides itself on a low gini co-efficient, suggesting it has one of the fairest wealth and income distributions in the world.