Teacher and school head salaries: Eurydice report reveals major differences between countries and education levels


A new Eurydice report analyses the statutory salaries of teachers and school heads in pre-primary, primary and general secondary public schools in 42 European education systems. The figures show that salaries increased in most countries during that time period but that some countries still have big salary differences between education levels. The report includes a wide range of national data about salaries, allowances and other additional payments for teachers and school heads.

Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2017/18, published in October 2019, shows the main changes in statutory salaries over a period of three years, comparing teachers’ actual salaries with the GDP per capita of the country where they work. Statutory starting salaries range from less than €5000 euros per year in Bulgaria and Albania to more than €70 000 euros in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. In some education systems statutory salaries for new teachers have increased significantly in recent years, such as the 15% increase in Bulgaria and Czechia.

The potential for salaries to increase over a teachers’ career also varies considerably. In countries like Greece, France, Luxembourg, Hungary and Austria the salary for teachers with the most years of experience is up to 70 % higher than the starting salary. For example, a newly qualified teacher in Austria starts on €35 205, compared to €72 763 at the top of the salary scale. However, it takes between 29 and 42 years of work to reach these higher levels.

Percentage difference between the statutory starting salaries of lower secondary

In many countries, salaries differ between different levels of the education sector due to differing minimum qualification requirements. However, in some countries all teachers have the same statutory salary regardless of the education sector in which they teach. For example, teachers in Ireland start on €35 958 per year in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education and can all expect the same salary at the top of the scale.

In terms of the variations between the salaries of teachers and school heads, the report shows the widest differences in Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Romania, the United Kingdom and the German-speaking Community of Belgium. In the UK some school heads earn up to three times as much as the teachers: a teacher’s maximum annual salary is €43 667 compared to a maximum of €123 618 for school heads.

ETUCE highlights that the teaching is a challenging profession with a vital role in society. Fair salaries are fundamental to ensure teachers’ satisfaction and motivation and are closely linked to the attractiveness of the profession. This has a major impact on recruitment and retention of teachers, on working conditions and the quality of teaching. However, there is a major teacher shortage in Europe and only 15% of teachers are below the age of 30, as we know from OECD’s Education at a Glance 2019. Within this context, ETUCE once again stresses how important it is to make the teaching profession attractive and to emphasise the critical role that education trade unions play in this process.

Read the whole report Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2017/18.

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