Wages in Ghana, Wage Indicator survey 2012

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Besamusca, J., Tijdens, K.G. (2012) Wages in Ghana. Wage Indicator survey 2012. Amsterdam, Wage Indicator Foundation, Wage Indicator Data Report September 2012 (EN)



This WageIndicator Data Report presents the results of the face-to-face WageIndicator survey in Ghana, conducted between 20 February and 20 April 2012. In total 1413 persons were interviewed, mainly in urban areas of all Ghanaian regions. The workers in the survey live in households with on average almost 4 members, including themselves. Six in ten men and nearly five in ten women live with a partner; more than 60% of men and 59% of women live with one or more children. The large majority of the workers have some kind of secondary education degree and on average, workers in the survey have almost fourteen years of work experience. Nearly half of the respondents work either as managers (30%) or professionals (17%). Clerical support workers (12%) and service and sales workers (14%) constitute a considerable part of the sample.

Seven in ten workers are employees with permanent contracts (67%). Almost 15% are self-employed; about nine per cent of the workers are employees with a fixed term contracts and another nine per cent are employees without a contract. Two-thirds of all self-employed are men. Women make up the majority of workers on permanent contracts and without contracts. Six in 10 employees on fixed term contracts are men. Workers without contract are very likely to be under 30 (64%) while much less likely to be older (only 4% being 50 years or older). Eight in ten workers work in an organization with at most 50 employees (37% firms until 10 employees and 43% 11-50 employees).

The average working week of the respondents is 54 hours and they work nearly six days a week. Two in ten workers report working regularly in shifts, almost half of the respondents regularly work in the evening. Over six out of ten people work on Saturdays and 42% report working Sundays. Only 32% of respondents are covered by a collective agreement, whereas 92% agree that it would be important to be covered.

Six in ten workers report entitled and contribute to social security, compared to four in ten who are not. Over 89% of self-employed and 85% of workers without a contract is not entitled to social security, whereas 83% of workers on permanent contracts are entitled. Half of the workers are in the very formal jobs, whereas just less than two in ten workers work in very informal jobs. Men are more likely than women to be in very informal jobs and less likely to be in very formal jobs. Older workers are most likely to be in very formal jobs (65%) and younger workers the least likely (37%).

The median net hourly wage of the total sample is 2,35 Ghanaian Cedi. The largest firms pay the highest wages and the smallest ones the lowest. Similarly, wages go up with more experience. Relative high median wages are also depicted for the workers on permanent contracts. Workers without any contract earn the lowest wages. While wages increase for every extra level of education, there is an enormous pay off for graduates from polytechnics and universities. Crafts and trades workers earn the highest wages, followed by technicians and professionals. Elementary workers, services and sales works and plant and machine operators are still reasonably well paid. Managers are surprisingly low paid.

Almost three in ten workers earns less than 0,50 Cedi per hour, whereas one quarter earn more than 3,50 Cedi. More than half of the workers with no formal education earn less than 1,50 Cedi per hour, whereas no university graduates and only 1% of polytechnic alumni do. Nearly seven in ten polytechnic graduates (68%) and six in ten university graduate earn more than 3,50 Cedi per hour. Three out of ten workers on permanent contracts earn more than 3,50 Cedi, compared to seven in ten workers without a contract, who earn less than 0,50 Cedi.

The analysis shows that 72% of the sample is paid on or above the minimum and 28% is paid below the minimum wage threshold. One in three workers without a contract works for wages below the minimum threshold. Approximately half of the workers in very small firms, under 29 years of age of in the lowest two tranches of the informality index are paid under the minimum wage threshold. Nine in ten workers in very formal jobs, workers over 50 years old or those in companies of more than 50 employees, work for at least the minimum wage. Eight in ten workers on permanent contracts and six in ten self-employed earn the minimum wage or more. Higher education levels, age and living with a partner all have positive effects. Graduates from polytechnics and universities appear to be free from any danger of being paid under the minimum wage. Agricultural workers are regularly paid below the minimum wage (only 45% is paid on or above the minimum wage). In contrast, technicians, crafts and trades workers and those in elementary occupations are paid according to the minimum wage in 96 to 97 per cent of the cases.


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