Indicator D3. How much are teachers and school heads paid?

Teachers’ statutory salaries can vary according to a number of factors, including the level of education taught, their qualification level and their level of experience or the stage of their career (for variation between general and vocational programmes see Box D3.2).

Teachers’ salaries vary widely across countries. The salaries of lower secondary school teachers with 15 years of experience and most prevalent qualifications (a proxy for mid-career salaries of teachers) range from less than USD 25 000 in Hungary and the Slovak Republic to more than USD 60 000 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States, and they exceed USD 100 000 in Luxembourg (Table D3.1).

In most countries and economies with available information, teachers’ salaries increase with the level of education they teach. In the Flemish and French communities of Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania and Norway, upper secondary teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications earn between 25% and 30% more than pre-primary teachers with the same experience, while in Finland and the Slovak Republic they earn 36-50% more, and in Mexico, 88% more. In Finland and the Slovak Republic, the difference is mainly explained by the gap between pre-primary and primary teachers’ salaries. In the Flemish and French communities of Belgium, teachers’ salaries at upper secondary level are significantly higher than at other levels of education (Table D3.1).

The difference in salaries between teachers at pre-primary and upper secondary levels is less than 5% in Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Slovenia and the United States, and teachers earn the same salary irrespective of the level of education taught in Colombia, England (United Kingdom), Greece, Poland, Portugal, Scotland (United Kingdom) and Turkey (Table D3.1).

However, in Israel the salary of a pre-primary teacher is about 5% higher than the salary of an upper secondary teacher. This difference results from the “New Horizon” reform, begun in 2008 and almost fully implemented by 2014, which increased salaries for pre-primary, primary and lower secondary teachers. Another reform, launched in 2012 with implementation ongoing, aims to raise salaries for upper secondary teachers.

The minimum qualifications required to teach at a given level of education in the public school system refers to the minimum duration and type of training required (based on official documents) to enter the profession. The “most prevalent” level of qualifications refers to the level of qualifications and training held by the largest proportion of teachers. It can be defined either for a level of education or at a specific stage of the teaching career (see Annex 3 for the description of qualification levels).

Countries may require different minimum levels of qualifications to teach at different levels of education. To become a teacher, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and Switzerland require a higher degree (master’s or equivalent) to teach either at general lower and/or upper secondary level than at primary level. This helps to explain the higher salaries observed at these levels in those countries (Table X3.D3.2, available on line).

Differences in salaries for teachers with the minimum and most prevalent qualifications are by no means the general rule: in countries where a large proportion of teachers have the minimum qualifications, they may also be the most prevalent qualifications. In about three-quarters of countries and economies with available information (or more, depending on the level of education taught), the minimum qualification to enter the teaching profession is also the most prevalent qualification at that level, meaning there is no difference in statutory salaries between teachers with the minimum and most prevalent qualifications throughout a teacher’s career.

In the remaining countries and economies, the most prevalent qualification is higher than the minimum qualification required at a given level of education, and this is recognised by the compensation system. Among the 15 countries and economies with available data, the salaries of teachers with the most prevalent qualifications are at least 10% higher than those of teachers with the minimum qualifications at all stages of their careers in Colombia (pre-primary and primary levels), the Flemish Community of Belgium (upper secondary level), Norway (upper secondary level), Poland (pre-primary and primary levels) and the United States (primary, lower and upper secondary levels). The difference exceeds 75% in Costa Rica, although the salaries of teachers with the most prevalent qualifications are still at least 20% lower than the OECD average (at all stages of their careers and at all levels of education). Caution is necessary when interpreting these differences in salaries, as in some countries only a very small proportion of teachers have the minimum qualifications (Tables D3.5 and D3.6, available on line).

The most prevalent qualifications may also vary according to the number of years of experience teachers have. This is the case in a small number of countries (Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway and the United States), and the difference might apply at one or more of the four career stages considered (starting point, 10 years of experience, 15 years of experience and top of the range) in one or more levels of education. Such variation is usually linked to recent reforms related to the compensation system and/or qualification requirements for teachers. In Ireland, for example, the salary arrangements have changed for teachers who entered the teaching profession from the beginning of 2011. The salaries related to most prevalent qualifications for teachers with 10 or more years of experience refer to the salary arrangement in place for teachers appointed prior to 2012 (the difference in salary varies from 8% to 17% according to levels of education and career stage). In Norway, the most prevalent qualification when entering the teaching profession at the primary and lower secondary level is the minimum qualification, but then the most prevalent qualification differs from the minimum among more experienced teachers at these levels of education (Table D3.1 and Table D3.5, available on line).

Salary structures usually define the salaries paid to teachers at different points in their careers. Deferred compensation, which rewards employees for staying in organisations or professions and for meeting established performance criteria, is also used in teachers’ salary structures. OECD data on teachers’ salaries are limited to information on statutory salaries at four points of the salary scale: starting salaries, salaries after 10 years of experience, salaries after 15 years of experience and salaries at the top of the scale. Qualification levels can also influence starting and maximum salaries and lead to wage increases in some countries.

In OECD countries, teachers’ salaries for a given qualification level rise during the course of their career, although the rate of change differs across countries. For lower secondary teachers with the most prevalent qualifications, average statutory salaries are 28% higher than average starting salaries after 10 years of experience, and 36% higher after 15 years of experience. Average salaries at the top of the scale (reached after an average of 26 years) are 66% higher than the average starting salaries. In Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Slovak Republic and Spain, lower secondary school teachers only reach the top of the salary scale after at least 35 years of service. In contrast, lower secondary teachers in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland (United Kingdom) reach the highest step on the salary scale after 6-8 years (Tables D3.5 and D3.10, available on line).

In addition to pay scales, the number of years needed to reach the top of scale is an indication of the speed of career progression and prospects. In general, the wider the range between minimum and maximum salaries, the more years it takes for teachers to reach the top of the scale. For example, although it only takes 6-8 years to start earning the maximum salary in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland (United Kingdom), the top of the scale is only about 33-53% higher than starting salaries, compared to 66% on average across OECD countries and economies with data on salaries at both points of the scale. However, this is not true of all countries. For example, while teachers with the most prevalent qualifications in both the Czech Republic and Israel will reach the top of their scale within approximately 32-36 years, maximum statutory salaries in the Czech Republic are only 32% higher than starting statutory salaries, compared to 104% higher in Israel (Table D3.10, available on line).

As the number of hours of teaching varies considerably between countries and also between levels of education, differences in teachers’ statutory salaries may also translate into different levels of salary per teaching hour. The average statutory salary per teaching hour for teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications is USD 59 for primary teachers, USD 69 for lower secondary teachers and USD 76 for upper secondary teachers in general education (Table D3.10, available on line).

Because secondary teachers are required to teach fewer hours than primary teachers, their salaries per teaching hour are usually higher than those of teachers at lower levels of education, even in countries where statutory salaries are similar (see Indicator D4). On average across OECD countries, upper secondary teachers’ salaries per teaching hour exceed those of primary teachers by about 28%. In Chile, the salary per teaching hour for an upper secondary teacher is 3% higher than that of a primary teacher while in Mexico it is 72% higher. In Costa Rica and Lithuania, the salary per teaching hour is higher at the primary level (Table D3.10, available on line).

However, for countries with similar statutory salaries at primary and secondary levels, these difference in salaries per teaching hour between primary and secondary teachers may disappear when comparing salaries per hour of working time, as teachers’ statutory working time is usually similar at primary and secondary level (see Indicator D4).

Countries that are looking to increase the supply of teachers, especially those with an ageing teacher workforce and/or a growing school-age population, might consider offering more attractive starting wages and career prospects. However, to ensure a well-qualified teaching workforce, efforts must be made not only to recruit and select, but also to retain the most competent and best-qualified teachers. Weak financial incentives may make it more difficult to retain teachers as they approach the peak of their earnings. However, there may be some benefits to compressed pay scales. For example, organisations with smaller differences in salaries among employees may enjoy more trust, freer flows of information and more collegiality among co-workers.

At the lower secondary level, the average statutory salary of a teacher with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience is 38% higher than that of a teacher starting out with minimum qualifications. At the top of the salary range with maximum qualifications, the average statutory salary is 85% higher than the average starting salary with the minimum qualifications (Figure D3.2).

In terms of the maximum statutory salary range (from starting salaries with minimum qualifications to maximum salaries with maximum qualifications), most countries and economies with starting salaries below the OECD average also have maximum salaries that are below the OECD average. At the lower secondary level, the most notable exceptions are Colombia, England (United Kingdom), Korea and Mexico, where starting salaries are at least 5% lower than the OECD average, but maximum salaries are 22-39% higher. These differences may reflect the different career paths available to teachers’ with different qualifications in these countries. The opposite is true in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, where starting salaries are between 8% and 44% higher than the OECD average, while maximum salaries are lower than the OECD average (9-26% lower). This results from relatively flat/compressed salary scales in a number of these countries (Tables D3.6 and D3.16, available on line, and Figure D3.2).

In contrast, for lower secondary teachers, maximum salaries (at the top of the scale, with maximum qualifications) are at least double the starting salaries (for teachers with minimum qualifications) in Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, England (United Kingdom), France, the French Community of Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands and Portugal (Figure D3.2).

The salary premium for teachers with maximum qualifications at the top of the pay scales, and those with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience, also varies across countries. At lower secondary level, the pay gap is less than 10% in seven OECD countries and economies, while it exceeds 60% in Chile, Colombia, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and Portugal (Table D3.16, available on line, and Figure D3.2).

When analysing starting salaries (with minimum qualifications) and maximum salaries (i.e. those at the top of the salary scale with maximum qualification), it is important to bear in mind a couple of things. First, as noted above, the minimum qualifications are the most prevalent in the majority of countries. Additionally, not all teachers may aim for or reach the top of the salary scale and in some systems few of them may hold the minimum or maximum qualifications (Table X2.11, available on line).

Teachers’ salaries increased overall in real terms in most countries for which data are available between 2000 and 2019. Around two-thirds of countries show an increase over this period and one-third show a decrease. However, only two in five OECD countries have the relevant data available (the statutory salaries of teachers with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience) for the whole of this period with no break in the time series.

The biggest reductions in salaries in real terms between 2000 and 2019 were in France, where salaries fell by up to 10% (at secondary levels), and Greece, where salaries fell by 20%. There were also smaller declines in teachers’ salaries in real terms in England (United Kingdom) (2%), and Italy (less than 1%). Salaries increased by more than 30% for primary and secondary teachers in Ireland and Israel. However, in some countries, an overall increase in teachers’ salaries between 2000 and 2019 includes periods when salaries fell in real terms, particularly from 2010 to 2013 (Table D3.14, available on line).

Over the period 2005 to 2019, for which three-quarters of OECD countries and economies have comparable data for at least one level of education, more than half showed an increase in real terms in the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications. On average across OECD countries and economies with available data for the reference years of 2005 and 2019, statutory salaries increased by 7% at primary level, 7% at lower secondary level and 5% at upper secondary level. The increase exceeded 20% in Poland at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels (the result of a 2007 government programme that aimed to increase teachers’ salaries successively between 2008 and 2013, and also since 2017, and to improve the quality of education by providing financial incentives to attract high-quality teachers) and also in Iceland (pre-primary), Israel, and Sweden (Table D3.14, available on line).

In most countries, the salary increases were similar across primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels between 2005 and 2019. However, this is not the case in Israel, where salaries increased by more than 50% at pre-primary level, 31% at primary level, 43% at lower secondary level and 44% at upper secondary level. This is largely the result of the gradual implementation of the “New Horizon” reform in primary and lower secondary schools, which began in 2008 following an agreement between the education authorities and the Israeli Teachers Union (for primary and lower secondary education). This reform included raising teachers’ pay in exchange for longer working hours (see Indicator D4).

In contrast, salaries have decreased slightly since 2005 in a few countries and economies including Denmark (pre-primary), France, Hungary (upper secondary), Italy, Portugal, Scotland (United Kingdom), Spain and the United States (primary). They decreased by 8% in Japan, and by more than 29% in Greece as the result of reductions in remuneration, the implementation of new wage grids and salary freezes since 2011 (Table D3.14, available on line).

However, these overall changes in teachers’ salaries in OECD countries between 2005 and 2019 mask different periods of change in teachers’ salaries, as a result of the impact of the economic downturn in 2008. On average across OECD countries and economies with available data for all years over the period, salaries were either frozen or cut between 2009 and 2013, before starting to increase again. Statutory salaries for primary, lower and upper secondary teachers with 15 years of experience and minimum qualifications now exceed pre-crisis levels, on average across OECD countries with data for all reference years (Figure D3.3).

The responsibilities of school heads may vary between countries and also within countries, depending on the schools they are responsible for. School heads may exercise educational responsibilities (which may include teaching tasks but also responsibility for the general functioning of the institution in areas such as the timetable, implementation of the curriculum, decisions about what is taught, and the materials and methods used). They may also have other administrative, staff management and financial responsibilities (see Indicator D4 for more details).

Differences in the nature of the work carried out and the hours worked by school heads (compared to teachers) are reflected in the systems of compensation used within countries (see Tables D4.2 and D4.5 for the working time of teachers and school heads). School heads may be paid according to a specific salary range and may or may not receive a school-head allowance on top of their statutory salaries. However, they can also be paid in accordance with the salary scale(s) of teachers and receive an additional school-head allowance. The use of teachers’ salary ranges may reflect the fact that school heads are initially teachers with additional responsibilities. At lower secondary level, school heads are paid according to teachers’ salary scales, with a school-head allowance, in 13 out of the 33 countries and economies with available information, and according to a specific salary range in the other 20 countries and economies. Of these, 13 countries and economies have no specific school-head allowance and 7 countries have a school-head allowance. The amounts payable to school heads (through statutory salaries and/or school-head allowances) may vary according to criteria related to the school(s) where the school head is based (for example the size of the school based on the number of students enrolled, or the number of teachers supervised). They could also vary according to the individual characteristics of the school heads themselves, such as the duties they have to perform or their years of experience (Table D3.21, available on line).

Considering the large number of criteria involved in the calculation of school heads’ statutory salaries, the statutory salary data for school heads focuses on the minimum qualification requirements to become a school head, and Table D3.4 shows only the minimum and maximum values. Caution is necessary when interpreting these values because salaries often depend on many criteria and as a result few school heads may earn these amounts.

At lower secondary level, the minimum salary for school heads is USD 52 077 on average across OECD countries and economies, ranging from USD 20 124 in Latvia to USD 110 128 in Luxembourg. The maximum salary is USD 86 974 on average across OECD countries and economies, ranging from USD 32 337 in Poland to USD 152 305 in Luxembourg. These values should be interpreted with caution, as minimum and maximum statutory salaries refer to school heads in different types of schools. About half of OECD countries and economies have similar pay ranges for primary and lower secondary school heads, while upper secondary school heads benefit from higher statutory salaries on average.

On average across OECD countries and economies, the maximum statutory salary of a school head with minimum qualifications is 66% higher than the minimum statutory salary at primary level, 67% higher than the minimum in lower secondary and 63% higher in upper secondary. There are only 12 countries or economies where school heads at the top of the scale can expect to earn twice the statutory starting salary in at least one of these levels of education; in Costa Rica, they can expect to earn more than three times the starting salary.

The minimum statutory salaries for school heads with minimum qualifications are higher than the starting salaries of teachers, except in Costa Rica. The difference between minimum salaries for school heads (with minimum qualifications) and starting salaries for teachers with the most prevalent qualifications increases with level of education: they are 28% higher on average across OECD countries and economies at pre-primary level, 40% at primary level, 48% at lower secondary level and 47% at upper secondary level. In a number of countries, the minimum statutory salary for school heads is higher even than the maximum salary for teachers. This is the case at lower secondary level in Australia, Denmark, England (United Kingdom), Finland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland (United Kingdom), Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and the United States (Figure D3.4).

Similarly, the maximum statutory salaries for school heads are higher than the maximum salaries for teachers for all OECD countries and economies with available data. At lower secondary level, the maximum statutory salary of a school head is 49% higher than the salary of teachers at the top of the scale (with most prevalent qualifications), on average across OECD countries and economies. The maximum statutory salaries of school heads in Chile, England (United Kingdom), Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand and Scotland (United Kingdom) are more than twice statutory teachers’ salaries at the top of the scale (Figure D3.4).

Unlike statutory salaries, teachers’ and school heads’ actual salaries may include work-related payments, such as annual bonuses, results-related bonuses, extra pay for holidays, sick-leave pay and other additional payments (see the Definitions section). These bonuses and allowances can represent a significant addition to base salaries. Actual average salaries are influenced by the prevalence of bonuses and allowances in the compensation system. Differences between statutory and actual average salaries are also linked to the distribution of teachers by years of experience and qualifications, as these two factors have an impact on their salary levels.

Across OECD countries and economies, in 2019 the average actual salaries of teachers aged 25-64 were USD 38 677 at pre-primary level, USD 43 942 at primary level, USD 46 225 at lower secondary level and USD 49 778 at upper secondary level. Average actual salaries for school heads aged 25-64 ranged from USD 67 365 at primary level to USD 73 404 at lower secondary level and USD 79 531 at upper secondary level (Table D3.3, see Box D3.1 for variations at subnational level).

There are 28 OECD countries and economies with available data on both the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and most prevalent qualifications, and the actual salaries of 25-64 year-old teachers for at least one level of education. Actual annual salaries are 10% higher than statutory salaries in seven of these countries and economies at pre-primary level and 11 of these countries and economies at upper secondary level (Table D3.3).

The actual salaries of school heads are higher than those of teachers, and the premium increases with levels of education. On average across OECD countries and economies, school heads’ actual salaries in 2019 were 53% higher than those of teachers at primary level. The premium is 59% at lower secondary level and 60% at upper secondary level. The difference between the actual salaries of school heads and teachers varies widely between countries and between levels of education. The countries and economies with the highest premium for school heads over teachers are England (United Kingdom) (secondary levels) and Italy (primary and secondary levels), where school heads’ actual salaries are more than twice those of teachers. The lowest premiums, of less than 25%, are in Estonia (at primary and secondary) and Latvia (lower secondary). Other countries show a steep rise in salaries of school heads compared to teachers at the secondary level, while there is a more moderate difference at primary level. For example, in Denmark school heads’ actual salaries are 29% higher than teachers’ at pre-primary level but the difference is 42% at lower secondary and 60% at upper secondary level. In Costa Rica, Latvia and Slovenia, the difference is much larger at pre-primary level than at primary and lower secondary levels (Table D3.3).

Education systems compete with other sectors of the economy to attract high-quality graduates as teachers. Research shows that salaries and alternative employment opportunities are important factors in the attractiveness of teaching (Johnes and Johnes, 2004[3]). Teachers’ salaries relative to other occupations with similar education requirements, and their likely growth in earnings may have a huge influence on a graduate’s decision to become a teacher and stay in the profession (see Box D3.3 for information on satisfaction of teachers with their pay). The career prospects of school heads and their relative salaries are also a signal of the career progression pathways available to teachers and the compensation they can expect in the longer term.

In most OECD countries and economies, a tertiary degree is required to become a teacher and then a school head, at all levels of education, meaning that the likely alternative to teacher education is a similar tertiary education programme. Thus, to interpret salary levels in different countries and reflect comparative labour-market conditions, actual salaries of teachers are compared to the earnings of other tertiary-educated professionals: 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year workers with a similar tertiary education (ISCED levels 5 to 8). Moreover, to ensure that comparisons between countries are not biased by differences in the distribution of tertiary attainment level among teachers and tertiary-educated workers more generally, teachers’ actual salaries are also compared to a weighted average of earnings of similarly educated workers (the earnings of similarly educated workers are weighted by the proportion of teachers with similar tertiary attainment – see Tables X2.9 and X2.10 in Annex 2 for the proportion of teachers and school heads by attainment level; and the Methodology section for more details).

Among the 22 countries and economies with available data (for at least one level), teachers’ actual salaries amount to 65% or less of the earnings of similarly educated workers in Chile (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary) the Czech Republic (primary and lower secondary), Hungary (upper secondary), Poland (pre-primary) and the United States. Very few countries and economies have teachers’ actual salaries that reach or exceed those of similarly educated workers. However, in Germany, the actual salaries of upper secondary teachers are the same as those of similarly educated workers (Table D3.2).

Considering how few countries have available data for this relative measure of teachers’ salaries, a second benchmark is based on the actual salaries of all teachers, relative to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education (ISCED levels 5 to 8). Against this benchmark, actual teachers’ salaries relative to other tertiary-educated workers increase with higher education levels. On average, pre-primary teachers’ salaries amount to 80% of the full-time, full-year earnings of tertiary-educated 25-64 year-olds. Primary teachers earn 85% of this benchmark salary, lower secondary teachers 89% and upper secondary teachers 94% (Table D3.2).

In almost all countries and economies with available information, and at almost all levels of education, teachers’ actual salaries are lower than those of tertiary-educated workers. The lowest relative salaries are at pre-primary level: in the Czech Republic pre-primary teachers’ salaries are 55% of those of tertiary-educated workers, in the Slovak Republic they are 58%, and in the United States they are 61%. However in some countries, teachers earn more than tertiary-educated adults, either at all levels of education (Costa Rica, Lithuania and Portugal), or only at some levels (at upper secondary level in Finland, France and the French Community of Belgium, at lower and upper secondary levels in Germany). In Lithuania and Portugal, teachers earn at least 30% more than tertiary-educated workers (Table D3.2 and Figure D3.1).

School heads earn more than teachers and, unlike teachers, typically earn more than similarly educated workers at all the levels of education considered. This difference tends to increase with the level of education. Among the 18 OECD countries and economies with available data (for at least one level), it is only school heads in the United States and pre-primary school heads in Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Poland whose actual salaries are on average at least 5% lower than the earnings of similarly educated workers. In contrast, school heads’ salaries are at least 40% higher than similarly educated workers in England (United Kingdom), the Flemish Community of Belgium (pre-primary, primary and lower secondary) and New Zealand (primary and secondary) (Table D3.2).

As with teachers, there are only a few countries with available data for this relative measure of school heads’ salaries. Hence, a second benchmark is based on the actual salaries of all school heads, relative to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education. Using this measure, on average across OECD countries and economies, school heads earn 26% more than tertiary-educated adults at primary level, 38% more at lower secondary level and 46% more at upper secondary level. School heads earn less than tertiary-educated adults only in the Czech Republic (pre-primary), Denmark (pre-primary), Estonia (pre-primary), Finland (pre-primary), Norway (pre-primary), and Poland (pre-primary) (Table D3.2).

Statutory salaries, based on pay scales, are only one component of the total compensation of teachers and school heads. School systems also offer additional payments to teachers and school heads, such as allowances, bonuses or other rewards. These may take the form of financial remuneration and/or reductions in the number of teaching hours, and decisions on the criteria used for the formation of the base salary are taken at different decision-making levels (Tables D3.19 and D3.20, available on line).

Criteria for additional payments vary across countries. In the large majority of countries and economies, teachers’ core tasks (teaching, planning or preparing lessons, marking students’ work, general administrative work, communicating with parents, supervising students and working with colleagues) are rarely compensated through specific bonuses or additional payments (Table D3.17, available on line). Teachers may also be required to have some responsibilities or perform some tasks without additional compensation (see Indicator D4 for the tasks and responsibilities of teachers).Taking on other responsibilities, however, often entails some sort of extra compensation.

At lower secondary level, teachers who participate in school management activities in addition to their teaching duties received extra compensation in three-fifths of countries and economies with available information.

It is also common to see additional payments, either annual or occasional, when teachers teach more classes or hours than required by their full-time contract, have responsibility as a class or form teacher, or perform special tasks, such as training student teachers (Table D3.17, available on line).

Additional compensation, either in the form of occasional additional or annual payments or through increases in basic salary, is also awarded for outstanding performance to lower secondary teachers in about half of OECD countries and economies with available data. Additional payments can also include bonuses for special teaching conditions, such as teaching students with special needs in regular schools or teaching in disadvantaged, remote or high-cost areas (Table D3.17, available on line).

There are also criteria for additional payments for school heads, but fewer tasks or responsibilities lead to additional payments compared to teachers. At lower secondary level, only a few countries do not offer any type of additional compensation to their school heads: Australia, Austria, the French Community of Belgium and Portugal (Table D3.18, available on line).

Among the 31 countries and economies with available data, around one-quarter provide additional compensation to school heads for participating in management tasks over and above their usual responsibilities as school heads or for working overtime. About half of the countries and economies (Australia, Austria, Chile, England [United Kingdom], Finland, France, the French Community of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland) provide additional compensation for teachers when they take on extra responsibilities, but do not provide any additional payments to school heads (Tables D3.17 and D3.18, available on line). The extent to which teachers receive additional compensation for taking on extra responsibilities and the activities for which teachers are compensated vary across these countries. As with teachers (see above), in some countries, such as Greece, a number of these responsibilities and tasks are considered part of school heads’ duties and so they are not compensated with any extra allowances.

At lower secondary level, school heads are awarded additional compensation for outstanding performance in more than one-third of the countries and economies with available data, just as teachers are. However, Austria, Chile, England (United Kingdom), Israel, Portugal and Turkey award teachers additional compensation for outstanding performance, but not school heads. The opposite is observed in Colombia, France and Spain, where school heads are rewarded for high performance, but not teachers. In France, part of the school-head allowance is awarded according to the results of a professional interview and is paid every three years (Tables D3.17 and D3.18, available on line).

Teachers and school heads are also likely to receive additional payments for working in disadvantaged, remote, or high-cost areas in half of the countries and economies, with the exception of Australia, where such incentives are only provided to teachers (Tables D3.17 and D3.18, available on line).

Teachers refer to professional personnel directly involved in teaching students. The classification includes classroom teachers, special-education teachers and other teachers who work with a whole class of students in a classroom, in small groups in a resource room, or in one-to-one teaching situations inside or outside a regular class.

School head refers to any person whose primary or major function is heading a school or a group of schools, alone or within an administrative body such as a board or council. The school head is the primary leader responsible for the leadership, management and administration of a school.

Actual salaries for teachers/school heads aged 25-64 refer to the annual average earnings received by full-time teachers/school heads aged 25 to 64, before taxes. It is the gross salary from the employee’s point of view, since it includes the part of social security contributions and pension-scheme contributions that are paid by the employees (even if deducted automatically from the employees’ gross salary by the employer). However, the employers’ premium for social security and pension is excluded. Actual salaries also include work-related payments, such as school-head allowance, annual bonuses, results-related bonuses, extra pay for holidays and sick-leave pay. Income from other sources, such as government social transfers, investment income and any other income that is not directly related to their profession are not included.

Earnings for workers with tertiary education are average earnings for full-time, full-year workers aged 25-64 with an education at ISCED level 5, 6, 7 or 8.

Salary at the top of the scale refers to the maximum scheduled annual salary (top of the salary range) for a full-time classroom teacher (for a given level of qualification of teachers recognised by the compensation system).

Salary after 15 years of experience refers to the scheduled annual salary of a full-time classroom teacher. Statutory salaries may refer to the salaries of teachers with a given level of qualification recognised by the compensation system (the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified, the most prevalent qualifications, or the maximum qualification), plus 15 years of experience.

Starting salary refers to the average scheduled gross salary per year for a full-time classroom teacher with a given level of qualification recognised by the compensation system (the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified or the most prevalent qualifications) at the beginning of the teaching career.

Statutory salaries refer to scheduled salaries according to official pay scales. The salaries reported are gross (total sum paid by the employer) less the employer’s contribution to social security and pension, according to existing salary scales. Salaries are “before tax” (i.e. before deductions for income tax).

Data on teachers’ salaries at lower and upper secondary level refer only to general programmes.

Salaries were converted using purchasing power parities (PPPs) for private consumption from the OECD National Accounts database. The period of reference for teachers’ salaries is from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. The reference date for PPPs is 2018/19, except for some Southern Hemisphere countries (e.g. Australia and New Zealand), where the academic year runs from January to December. In these countries, the reference year is the calendar year (i.e. 2019). Tables with salaries in national currency are included in Annex 2. To calculate changes in teachers’ salaries (Table D3.14 and Table D3.15, available on line), the deflator for private consumption is used to convert salaries to 2005 prices.

In most countries, the criteria to determine the most prevalent qualifications of teachers are based on a principle of relative majority (i.e. the level of qualifications of the largest proportion of teachers).

In Table D3.2, the ratios of salaries to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education aged 25-64 are calculated based on weighted averages of earnings of tertiary-educated workers (Columns 2 to 5 for teachers and Columns 10 to 13 for school heads). The weights, collected for every country individually, are based on the percentage of teachers or school heads by ISCED level of tertiary attainment (see Tables X2.9 and X2.10 in Annex 2). The ratios have been calculated for countries for which these data are available. When data on earnings of workers referred to a different reference year than the 2019 reference year used for salaries of teachers or school heads, a deflator has been used to adjust earnings data to 2019). For all other ratios in Table D3.2 and those in Table D3.8 (available on line), information on all tertiary-educated workers was used instead of weighted averages. Data on the earnings of workers take account of earnings from work for all individuals during the reference period, including salaries of teachers. In most countries, the population of teachers is large and may impact on the average earnings of workers. The same procedure was used in Table D3.7 (available on line), but the ratios are calculated using the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience instead of their actual salaries.

For more information please see the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics 2018 (OECD, 2018[6]) and Annex 3 for country-specific notes (https://doi.org/10.1787/69096873-en).

Data on salaries and bonuses for teachers and school heads are derived from the 2019 joint OECD/Eurydice data collection on salaries of teachers and school heads. Data refer to the school year 2018/19 and are reported in accordance with formal policies for public institutions. Data on earnings of workers are based on the regular data collection by the OECD LSO (Labour Market and Social Outcomes of Learning) Network.

References

[3] Johnes, G. and J. Johnes (2004), International Handbook on the Economics of Education, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA.

[4] Matteazzi, E., A. Pailhé and A. Solaz (2017), “Part-time employment, the gender wage gap and the role of wage-setting institutions: Evidence from 11 European countries”, European Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 24/3, pp. 221-241, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959680117738857.

[5] OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en.

[2] OECD (2019), Education at a Glance 2019: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/f8d7880d-en.

[6] OECD (2018), OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics 2018: Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264304444-en.

[1] OECD (2005), Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers, Education and Training Policy, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264018044-en.

Table D3.1. Teachers' statutory salaries, based on the most prevalent qualifications at different points in teachers' careers (2019)

Table D3.2. Teachers’ and school heads’ actual salaries relative to earnings of tertiary-educated workers (2019)

Table D3.3. Teachers’ and school heads’ average actual salaries (2019)

Table D3.4. School heads’ minimum and maximum statutory salaries, based on minimum qualifications (2019)

WEB Table D3.5 Teachers' statutory salaries, based on the most prevalent qualification at a given level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.6 Teachers' statutory salaries, based on the minimum qualifications to enter the teaching profession (2019)

WEB Table D3.7. Teachers’ and school heads’ statutory salaries relative to earnings of tertiary-educated workers (2019)

WEB Table D3.8. Teachers’ actual salaries relative to earnings of tertiary-educated workers, by age group and gender (2019)

WEB Table D3.9. School heads’ actual salaries relative to earnings of tertiary-educated workers, by age group and gender (2019)

WEB Table D3.10. Comparison of teachers' statutory salaries, based on the most prevalent qualification of teachers at a given level of education, by level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.11. Comparison of teachers' statutory salaries, based on the minimum qualifications required to enter the teaching profession in the reference year (2019)

WEB Table D3.12. Teachers’ average actual salaries, by age group and gender (2019)

WEB Table D3.13. School heads’ average actual salaries, by age group and gender (2019)

WEB Table D3.14. Trends in teachers’ statutory salaries, based on most prevalent qualifications at different points in teachers' careers (2000 and 2019)

WEB Table D3.15. Trends in teachers’ statutory salaries, based on minimum qualifications to enter the teaching profession (2000 and 2019)

WEB Table D3.16. Teachers’ starting and maximum statutory salaries, based on minimum/maximum qualifications (2019)

WEB Table D3.17. Criteria used for base salaries and additional payments awarded to teachers in public institutions, by level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.18. Criteria used for base salaries and additional payments awarded to school heads in public institutions, by level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.19. Decision-making level for criteria used for determining teachers' base salaries and additional payments, by level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.20. Decision-making level for criteria used for determining school heads' base salaries and additional payments, by level of education (2019)

WEB Table D3.21. Structure of compensation system for school heads (2019)

StatLink: https://doi.org/10.1787/888934165472

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