New data on Teacher Salaries and Attractiveness of the teaching profession: OECD's Education at a Glance 2023 Report


The recent OECD's Education at a Glance 2023 report provides significant insights into the state of education around the world. It analyses all levels of education and provides data on topics such as attainment, enrolment, finance, and the organisation of education systems. 

The report reveals that several countries struggle with teacher shortages due to the lack of competitive salaries. Data show that the teaching profession is less attractive than other professions and there is a persistent declining trend in teacher salaries over the years. This decline is especially prominent in Greece and has been exacerbated following the 2008-09 financial crisis.

On average, teachers in lower secondary education earn roughly 10% less than individuals with tertiary education qualifications. Teachers with tertiary-level qualifications earn between 81% to 95% of the salaries of their counterparts in other professions. In Greece and Croatia, the salary gap between teachers and those of other well-educated workers is over 30%. As an example of salary disparities, Luxembourg's teachers enjoy average salaries more than double those in other European OECD countries, with ranges spanning from $45,000 to $112,000 annually. 

Nearly half of OECD countries have experienced a drop in real statutory wages for teachers. Low wage growth for teachers partly explains this gap between teachers' salaries and those of other tertiary-educated workers. In all but six OECD countries, statutory wages for lower secondary teachers have grown by less than 1% per year in real terms since 2015. Even worse, real statutory wages have actually fallen in almost half of all OECD countries for which data are available, reflecting a period of low or even negative wage growth in many countries, particularly in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Overall, the situation of teachers presented by the OECD Education at a Glance 2023 report shows that the teaching profession is less attractive than other professions and there is a persistent declining trend in teacher salaries over the years. Teachers often work beyond their hours, face barriers to professional development, and experience income gaps, particularly in early childhood education. Despite efforts to address these issues, investments in teachers' digital skills declined in 2022. The report highlights that the teaching workforce in vocational education and training (VET) is aging (on average 43% of teachers in upper secondary VET programmes were 50 years old or older in 2021, compared to 41% in 2013 across OECD countries). 

ETUCE acknowledges the challenges faced by the teaching profession, including shortages, low attractiveness, recruitment, and retention issues, and emphasizes the pivotal role of quality teaching in education. It commits to advocating for the implementation of the attractiveness of the teaching profession and strongly opposes its deregulation, based on policies that reduce requirements for teacher qualifications and certifications leading to lower standards in education.