WageIndicator Gazette 27, November 2011

** Wage Indicator Extension in Central America, Africa and the Middle East   ** New Salary Checks Combined with Mini-survey   ** Wage Indicator Sites Reshuffled   ** Wage Indicator Mobile   ** Huge Demand for Minimum Wages Information   ** Recent Research Trends   ** Shop Assistant Salaries in Big Mac terms   ** Pay pulls Medics from East to West   ** Trends due to the Economic Crisis 2009-2010: a German-Dutch Comparison   ** Over and Under qualification of Migrant Workers

Wage Indicator Extension in Central America, Africa and the Middle East

From October 2011 Wage Indicator rolls out operations in 7 new countries and reaches out to a few more through these newcomers. This brings the total of countries with a Wage Indicator online to 65 by the end of 2011.

In Central America the countries joining Wage Indicator ranks are Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua, at the same time giving the actual minimal presence in El Salvador a boost. 

Moreover operations have started in Tanzania, Kenya (East Africa) and Ghana (West Africa). The operations in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania are an innovation in the sense that in each of these three countries Wage Indicator cooperates closely with both the national federation of employer’s associations and trade unions. Therefore in each of these three countries a dedicated site for employees (mywage) and one for employers (africapay) is brought online, differing in content, but sharing the back end of operations.

Also a team in Egypt is now reinforcing the international Wage Indicator. The team in Egypt will bring on board Tunisia and the Palestine Territories in a somewhat later stage, after having established itself. Egypt is the first country in the Middle East to participate in the global Wage Indicator alliance.


New Salary Checks Combined with Mini-survey

Till the end of 2011 new Salary Checks will brought online in 40 countries. Next to being more user friendly, easily accessible, and fast, these new Salary Checks are combined with a mini-survey. The great advantage of this combination is that individuals checking their salaries for free now automatically reinforce the Wage Indicator database used for calculating real market wages in their country, without having to put in any additional effort. Next to these new Salary Checks the more extensive survey is there for the taking. Respondents completing the larger survey contribute their data to a much richer data set, allowing for deeper probing analysis of labour relationships and trends.  


Wage Indicator Sites Reshuffled

In keeping with growing insight in what Wage Indicator visitors world wide are looking for, all national sites are in the process of being remodelled. Content is now prominently displayed along 4 lines. The reshaped format consists of:

  1. Salaries: salary check (when data allow including a gross/net check), minimum wages, VIP earnings
  2. Labour law: 12 main topics, made easily accessible through decentworkcheck, decent work agenda, and frequently asked questions
  3. Targeted content for working women, youth, and elderly
  4. Career issues, like jobs, training, and negotiations

The labour law topics are geared to the international Decent Work Agenda and Conventions of the ILO. They reflect the rules and regulations as laid down in the national law of the country.

 For an impression of the new outline please visit


Wage Indicator Mobile

Almost all Wage Indicator sites by the end of 2011 feature a mobile version too. This extension reaches out to users of cell phones – also and especially where they have no direct access to the internet through personal computers. Their mobile devices display at least:

  1. Salary Checks 
  2. Minimum wages 
  3. VIP pages 
  4. Labour law (answers frequently asked questions)


Huge Demand for Minimum Wages Information  

The Indian Team from Ahmedabad is collecting minimum wage information together with, and on behalf of the national teams. From visitor’s response it has become evident that there is a great need for this basic, legal information in all participating countries – regardless of the level of development of their economies. Here is the impressive list.  


Recent Research Trends

The most recent developments in the research conducted on the basis of the national Wage Indicator datasets combined, are twofold:

  1. International comparison of salaries per occupation, adjusted for real purchasing power

  2. Trends over time: The following briefs on some of the most recent studies illustrate these achievements.


Shop Assistant Salaries in Big Mac terms

One of the follow up studies compared data volunteered by almost 5,500 shop supervisors, assistants and cashiers from 20 countries in Eurasia and Latin America, plus South Africa. This international comparison reveals that shop sales assistants in North Western Europe after one hour of work on average have earned enough to buy 2.5 Big Macs. In Spain and South Africa one hour of work is enough to buy a good sized one-and-a-half Big Mac. In Central Europe and Russia one hour of work is good for one Big Mac. In Latin America overall earning levels of sales assistants are down again: from 0.8 Big Mac in Mexico to a meager 0.4 Mac in Brazil. The earnings of cashiers show the same pattern of differences per region. Being promoted to shop supervisor is rewarded the most in countries where pay is poorer. In North Western Europe the differences in salary between assistant and supervisor are small, where supervisors only earn 10 per cent more. View the statistics table.


Pay pulls Medics from East to West

A cross country comparison of salaries in the health sector, based on Wage Indicator data, shows that medical doctors from Poland, Russia or the Ukraine could make a small fortune in no time in the United States. Across the Atlantic they would on average earn up to 19 times more than back home. Alternatively, staying in Europe but working in the Netherlands or the UK, they would still make 10 times as much as in Warsaw, Moscow or Kiev. This makes the position of medical doctors in those Eastern European countries and Russia exceptionally weak, as compared to their peers elsewhere. In Latin America for example cross country differences in health sector pay are far less dramatic than in Europe. For a pay upgrade alone, medical doctors in South America would have little incentive to move from – say – Argentina to Brazil.

Generally speaking, medical doctors are better off than other health care personnel. They have the highest salaries in 11 health sectors of the 20 countries compared. Personal care workers have overall lowest wages and are definitely lowest paid in 9 of the 20 countries. The wage levels of nurses and midwives vary largely across countries. But apart from medical doctors, in no other health occupation wage differences across countries are wide enough to expect a strong wage pull or push between countries.

The wage comparison between 16 health sector occupations throughout 20 countries is based on some 40,000 health workforce entries in the Wage Indicator survey over the past 2.5 years. The countries compared are Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, South-Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States. Wages are expressed in standardized USD, controlled for PPP and indexed to 2011 levels. View the full report.

Trends due to the Economic Crisis 2009-2010: a German-Dutch Comparison

The paper investigates the likelihood that German and Dutch employees work for a crisis-hit organisation. It shows that negative effects on wages occur in large firms and the manufacturing industry much more often, that women are more likely to be working in a crisis-hit organisation but less likely to be facing any of the adjustments, that education hardly matters and that elderly workers face many more adjustments than younger workers. Read the comparision report.

Over and Under qualification of Migrant Workers

Are overeducation and undereducation more common for migrants compared to domestic workers? If so, is overeducation and undereducation similar across migrants from various home countries and across various host countries? The paper aims at unravelling the incidence of skill mismatch of domestic and migrant workers employed in 13 countries of the European Union. Read the full report.


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