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Low-Wage Earner in EU – 1 out of 6 employees

The proportion of low-wage earners among employees amounted to 17.2% in 2014 in the European Union (EU). This means that they earned two-thirds or less of their national median gross hourly earnings.

There are large differences between genders and age groups regarding the proportion of low-wage earners. In the EU in 2014, 21.1% of female employees were low-wage earners, compared with 13.5% of male employees. Moreover, almost a third (30.1%) of employees aged less than 30 were low wage earners, compared with 14% or less for age groups between 30 and 59.

The level of education also plays an important role: the lower the level, the higher is the likelihood of being a low- wage earner. In the EU in 2014, while 28.2% of employees with a low education level were low-wage earners, the proportion decreased to 20.9% for those with a medium education level and to less than 7% (6.4%) for employees with a high education level. The type of contract also has a significant impact. In the EU in 2014, 31.9% of employees with a contract of limited duration were low-wage earners, compared with 15.3% of those with an indefinite contract.


The proportion of low wage earners continued to vary significantly between Member States in 2014. The highest percentages were observed in Latvia (25.5%), Romania (24.4%), Lithuania (24.0%) and Poland (23.6%), followed by Estonia (22.8%), Germany (22.5%), Ireland (21.6%) and the United Kingdom (21.3%). In contrast, less than 10% of employees were low wage earners in Sweden (2.6%), Belgium (3.8%), Finland (5.3%), Denmark (8.6%), France (8.8%) and Italy (9.4%).


Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 1 out of 6 employees in the European Union is a low-wage earner



  1. Pingback: Wage Growth Slowdown in Australia – The extent and causes | Job Market Monitor - April 15, 2019

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