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.

Data on teachers’ salaries are available for three qualification levels: minimum, most prevalent and maximum. The salaries of teachers with the maximum qualifications can be substantially higher than those with the minimum qualifications. However, in some countries, very few teachers hold the minimum or maximum qualifications. In many countries, most teachers have the same qualification level. For these reasons, the following analysis on statutory salaries focuses on teachers who hold the most prevalent qualifications.

Teachers’ salaries vary widely across countries. The salaries of lower secondary school teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications (a proxy for mid-career salaries) range from less than USD 21 000 in Hungary and the Slovak Republic to more than USD 70 000 in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, and they exceed USD 100 000 in Luxembourg (Table D3.1).

Typically, teachers’ salaries increase with the level of education they teach. On average across OECD countries and other participants, the salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications range from USD 45 253 at the pre-primary level to USD 49 245 at the primary level, USD 51 246 at the lower secondary level and USD 53 268 at the upper secondary level. In the Flemish and French Communities of Belgium, upper secondary teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications earn between about 25% and 30% more than pre-primary teachers with the same experience, while in Finland they earn around 50% more, and in Mexico they earn nearly twice as much. In Finland, the difference is mainly driven by the gap between pre-primary and primary teachers’ salaries. In the Flemish and French Communities of Belgium and in Mexico, teachers’ salaries at upper secondary level are significantly higher than at other levels of education (Table D3.1).

The difference in salaries between teachers (with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications) at pre-primary and upper secondary levels is less than 5% in Costa Rica, Israel, Korea, Slovenia, Türkiye and the United States, and teachers with the most prevalent qualifications earn the same salary irrespective of the level of education taught in Canada, Colombia, England (United Kingdom), Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Scotland (United Kingdom) (Table D3.1).

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. Countries that are looking to increase the supply of teachers, especially those with an ageing teacher workforce 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 the most competent and best-qualified teachers, but also to retain them. 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.

In OECD countries, the salaries of teachers at 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 29% higher than average starting salaries after 10 years of experience, and 37% higher after 15 years of experience. Average salaries at the top of the scale (reached after an average of nearly 26 years) are 67% higher than the average starting salaries. The difference in salaries by level of experience varies widely between countries. At the lower secondary level, salaries at the top of the scale exceed starting salaries by less than 20% in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Türkiye, whereas salaries at the top of the scale are 2.8 times starting salaries in Korea (after at least 37 years of experience). (Table D3.1 and Education at a Glance Database, http://stats.oecd.org)

Teachers’ qualification levels can also be associated with different salary scales. On average across OECD countries and other participants, the statutory salary of a lower secondary teacher with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience is 39% higher than that of a teacher starting out with the minimum qualifications. At the top of the salary range with the maximum qualifications, the average statutory salary is 41% higher than the average starting salary with the minimum qualifications (Table D3.1 and Figure D3.2).

In terms of the maximum statutory salary range (from starting salaries with the minimum qualifications to maximum salaries with the maximum qualifications), in most countries and other participants where starting salaries are below the OECD average, the maximum salaries are also below the OECD average. At the lower secondary level, the most notable exceptions are Colombia, England (United Kingdom), Mexico and Portugal, where starting salaries are at least 5% lower (7-36% lower) than the OECD average, but maximum salaries are at least 42% higher. These differences may reflect the different career paths available to teachers with different qualifications in these countries. The opposite is true in Finland and Iceland, where starting salaries are between 8% and 15% higher than the OECD average, but maximum salaries are lower than the OECD average. This results from these countries’ relatively compressed salary scales (Figure D3.2).

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

The salary premium for teachers with the maximum qualifications at the top of the pay scales (which may correspond to a very small proportion of teachers), and those with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience, also varies across countries. At lower secondary level, the pay gap between these two groups is less than 10% in seven OECD countries and other participants, while it exceeds 60% in seven others (Colombia, the Flemish Community of Belgium, France, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and Portugal). In France, the variation at lower secondary level results from different salary scales between professeurs certifiés (teachers with most prevalent qualification) and professeurs agrégés (teachers with the maximum qualification) (Figure D3.2 and Table D3.1).

In addition to statutory salaries, teachers’ actual salaries include work-related payments, such as annual bonuses, results-related bonuses, extra pay for holidays, sick-leave pay and other additional payments (see 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 patterns of experience and qualifications in the teaching workforce, as these factors have an impact on teachers’ salary levels.

Across OECD countries and other participants, in 2021, the average actual salaries of teachers aged 25-64 were USD 41 941 at pre-primary level, USD 47 538 at primary level, USD 50 026 at lower secondary level and USD 53 682 at upper secondary level (Table D3.3).

There are 27 OECD countries and other participants with available data on both the statutory salaries of teachers with 15 years of experience and the most prevalent qualifications, and the actual salaries of 25-64 year-old teachers for at least one level of education. Actual annual salaries are at least 10% higher than statutory salaries in 6 of these countries at pre-primary level and in 12 at upper secondary level. This shows the effect of additional allowances (included in data for actual but not statutory salaries) and of differing levels of experience in the teaching populations of countries (Table D3.3).

Comparing teachers’ actual salaries to minimum and maximum statutory salaries also gives an indication of the distribution of teachers between the minimum and maximum salary levels. At the lower secondary level, the actual salaries of 25-64 year-old teachers are, on average, 35% higher than the statutory starting salary for teachers with the minimum qualification. This difference is less than 20% in Denmark, Germany, Scotland (United Kingdom) and Sweden, which may result from a smaller range (of statutory salaries between starting and top of the scale) and/or smaller additional allowances compared to other countries. In contrast, in Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands and the Slovak Republic, the difference is over 60%, suggesting that most teachers are paid much more than the minimum salary (Figure D3.2).

A similar analysis comparing actual salaries with the maximum salary shows that actual salaries of 25-64 year-old teachers are, on average, 4% lower than the statutory salary at the top of the scale for teachers with the maximum qualification. The difference is greater than 35% in England (United Kingdom), the Flemish and French Communities of Belgium and Portugal, suggesting that few teachers are paid at or near the maximum salary level. In seven countries, teachers’ average actual salaries are higher than the maximum statutory salary (Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic), which implies that allowances awarded in addition to the statutory salary have a substantial effect on teachers’ take-home pay (Figure D3.2).

Education systems compete with other sectors of the economy to attract high-quality graduates as teachers. Research shows that salaries and alternative employment opportunities that are available to these graduates 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 a comparison of starting teacher’s salaries and earnings of recent tertiary graduates).

In most OECD countries, a tertiary degree is required to become a teacher at all levels of education (see Indicator D6), meaning that the likely alternative to teacher education is a similar tertiary programme. Thus salary levels and labour-market conditions in different countries can be interpreted by comparing teachers’ actual salaries with the earnings of other tertiary-educated professionals: 25-64 year-old full-time, full-year workers with a similar educational attainment (ISCED levels 5 to 8). Moreover, to ensure that comparisons between countries are not biased by differences in the distribution of tertiary attainment among teachers and tertiary-educated workers more generally, teachers’ actual salaries are also compared to a weighted average of earnings of similarly educated workers (where the earnings are weighted by the proportion of teachers with similar tertiary attainment; see Table X2.8 in Annex 2 for the proportion of teachers by attainment level, and the Methodology section for more details).

In very few of the 19 countries and other participants with available data for at least one level of education do teachers’ actual salaries reach or exceed those of similarly educated workers. They amount to 65% or less of the earnings of similarly educated workers in Hungary and the United States. However, upper secondary teachers in Germany and New Zealand have actual salaries that 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, teachers’ actual salaries relative to other tertiary-educated workers increase with higher education levels. On average, primary teachers’ salaries amount to 86% of the full-time, full-year earnings of tertiary-educated 25-64 year-olds. Lower secondary teachers earn 90% of this benchmark salary and upper secondary teachers 96% (Table D3.2).

In almost all countries and other participants 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 Hungary and the United States, pre-primary teachers’ salaries are 57% of those of tertiary-educated workers, and in the Slovak Republic they are 58%. 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 the pre-primary level in Australia; at upper secondary level in the Flemish Community of Belgium, Finland and Israel; and at secondary level in Germany and Ireland). In Costa Rica (at the secondary level) and Lithuania (at primary and secondary levels), and Portugal, teachers earn at least 30% more than tertiary-educated workers (Table D3.2 and Figure D3.1).

Finally, teachers’ pay rises at different rates over the course of their careers in different countries. On average among OECD members and other participants with available data, for lower secondary teachers with the most prevalent qualification starting salaries represent 76% of the average earnings of workers with a tertiary education, but salaries at the top the scale amount to 126% of average earnings. There is, however, substantial variation between countries in terms of the competitiveness of salaries and the time needed to progress from the starting salaries to the top of the scale. The time taken to progress is 26 years on average but ranges from 4 years in Scotland (United Kingdom) to 42 years in Hungary. These differing rates of progression mean that countries with similar relative salaries at the bottom and top of the scale might not necessarily be offering similarly competitive teacher compensation. For example, in Australia, starting salaries are 75% of tertiary-educated workers earnings and salaries at the top of the scale are 119% of tertiary-educated workers earnings. This is similar to Switzerland where the equivalent figures are 77% and 118%. However teachers can reach the top of the scale in nine years in Australia, compared with 25 years in Switzerland (Figure D3.3).

School heads’ responsibilities may vary between countries and also within countries, depending on the schools they lead. School heads may exercise educational responsibilities (which may include teaching, 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 compensation systems used within countries (see Tables D4.2 and D4.3 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 teachers’ salary scale(s) 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 other participants with available information, and according to a specific salary range in the other 20 countries and other participants. Of these, 13 countries and other participants have no specific school-head allowance and 7 countries have a school-head allowance included in the salary. 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 D3.12, 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 focus on those related to 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.

About half of OECD countries and other participants have similar pay ranges for primary and lower secondary school heads, while upper secondary school heads benefit from higher statutory salaries on average. At lower secondary level, the minimum salary for school heads is USD 55 776 on average across OECD countries and other participants, ranging from USD 22 101 in Latvia to USD 112 506 in Luxembourg. The maximum salary is USD 89 897 on average, ranging from USD 35 019 in the Czech Republic to USD 157 196 in Mexico. These values should be interpreted with caution, as minimum and maximum statutory salaries refer to school heads in different types of schools. (Table D3.4).

On average across OECD countries and other participants, the maximum statutory salary of a school head with the minimum qualifications is 79% higher than the minimum statutory salary at primary level, 68% higher than the minimum at lower secondary level and 69% higher at upper secondary level. There are only ten countries or other participants where school heads at the top of the scale can expect to earn at least twice the statutory starting salary in at least one of these levels of education; in Colombia and Costa Rica, they can even expect to earn more than three times the starting salary (Table D3.4).

The minimum statutory salaries for school heads with the minimum qualifications are higher than the starting salaries of teachers (with most prevalent qualification) in all OECD countries and other participants except Colombia (at pre-primary and primary levels) and Costa Rica. The difference increases with level of education: on average, they are 48% higher at primary level, 54% higher at lower secondary level and 56% higher at upper secondary level. In a number of countries, the minimum statutory salary for school heads is higher than the maximum salary for teachers. At lower secondary level, this is the case in Australia, Canada, Denmark, England (United Kingdom), Finland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland (United Kingdom), the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the United States (Figure D3.4 and Table D3.4).

Similarly, the maximum statutory salaries for school heads are higher than the maximum salaries for teachers for all OECD countries and other participants with available data. At lower secondary level, the maximum statutory salary of a school head is 56% higher on average than for teachers (with the most prevalent qualifications). In England (United Kingdom), Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand and Scotland (United Kingdom), school heads’ maximum salaries are more than twice statutory teachers’ salaries at the top of the scale (Figure D3.4 and Table D3.4).

Across OECD countries and other participants, average actual salaries for school heads aged 25-64 ranged from USD 71 462 at primary level to USD 76 831 at lower secondary level and USD 83 022 at upper secondary level. The actual salaries of school heads are higher than those of teachers, and the premium increases with levels of education. On average, school heads’ actual salaries in 2021 were 52% higher than teachers’ at primary level, 55% higher at lower secondary level and 56% higher at upper secondary level (Table D3.3).

The differences vary widely between countries and levels of education, however. The highest premium for school heads over teachers was in England (United Kingdom) at secondary levels, and Italy at primary and secondary levels, where school heads’ actual salaries are more than twice those of teachers. The lowest premiums, of less than 30%, are in Estonia (at primary and secondary), Finland (pre-primary), France (pre-primary and primary), Latvia (lower secondary) and Norway (pre-primary). For France, the low premiums can be explained by the fact that pre-primary and primary school heads are teachers relieved from part of their teaching duties. They receive the salaries of teachers at this level of education, with the addition of a specific school-head allowance. Other countries show a steep rise in salaries of school heads compared to teachers at the secondary level, but a moderate difference at primary level. For example, in Ireland, school heads’ actual salaries are 46% higher than teachers’ at primary level, but the difference is 72% at lower and upper secondary level. In Costa Rica, Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia, the difference is much larger at pre-primary level than at primary and lower secondary levels (Table D3.3; see Box D3.2 for variations at subnational level).

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. Not only do school heads earn more than teachers, they also, unlike teachers, typically earn more than similarly educated workers. This salary premium compared to tertiary-educated workers holds at all levels of education considered and tends to increase with the level of education. Among the 17 OECD countries and other participants with available data (for at least one level), it is only in Hungary and the United States – and Denmark, Finland and Norway at pre-primary level – where school heads’ actual salaries are at least 5% lower than the earnings of similarly educated workers. In contrast, school heads’ salaries are at least 40% higher than those of similarly educated workers in England (United Kingdom), Israel (upper 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, so a second benchmark is based on actual salaries relative to earnings for full-time, full-year workers with tertiary education. Using this measure, school heads earn more than tertiary-educated adults at all levels of education in most countries. However, school heads only earn at least 5% less than tertiary-educated adults in the Czech Republic (pre-primary), Denmark (pre-primary), Finland (pre-primary), Hungary and Norway (pre-primary) (Table D3.2).

Between 2010 and 2021, the statutory salaries of teachers (with the most prevalent qualifications and 15 years of experience) increased overall in real terms (i.e. when adjusted for increases in the cost of living) in most of the countries for which data are available. However, only two-fifths of OECD countries have the relevant data available for the whole period with no break in the time series. Among these countries, around two-thirds show an increase in such salaries over this period and one-third show a decrease (Table D3.6, available on line).

The biggest real-terms decreases in statutory salaries between 2010 and 2021 were in Greece, where statutory salaries fell by up to 30% at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. There were also smaller declines in teachers’ statutory salaries in Finland (up to 5%), Ireland (by around 2%), Italy (over 5%), Japan (by around 1%), Portugal (over 5%) and Spain (by between 5-8%). During the same period, statutory salaries increased by more than 30% for teachers in Israel (pre-primary and secondary levels) and the Slovak Republic (Figure D3.5 and Table D3.6, available on line).

Over the period 2015 to 2021, for which four-fifths of OECD countries and other participants have comparable trend data for at least one level of education, around three-quarters 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 other participants with available data for all the reference years between 2015 and 2021, statutory salaries increased by about 3% at primary level, 3% at lower secondary level and 5% at upper secondary level. The increase exceeded 20% in the Czech Republic, Israel (at upper secondary), Lithuania and the Slovak Republic (Figure D3.5 and Table D3.6, available on line).

In contrast, statutory salaries have decreased slightly since 2015 in a few countries and other participants including the French Community of Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Greece, Japan and Norway (upper secondary). The decrease is the largest in Costa Rica where it reached 14% at pre-primary, 13% at primary and over 35% at secondary level (Figure D3.5 and Table D3.6, available on line).

Between 2010 and 2020, teachers’ actual salaries increased overall in real terms in most countries for which data are available. Around two-thirds of countries with trend data show an increase over this period and one-third a decrease. However, only one in three OECD countries have available data on actual salaries of teachers aged 25-64 for this period with no break in the time series (Table D3.7, available on line).

For the countries with available data and no breaks in the time series, actual salaries generally increased between 2010 and 2020. The increase in salaries was over 20% at all levels of education in the Czech Republic and Hungary, and at upper secondary level in Iceland. In Sweden, actual salaries increased by 19% at pre-primary level and by 22-29% at primary and secondary levels. There were only five countries and other participants where actual salaries decreased in at least one level of education. They fell by more than 6% in real terms in England (United Kingdom) and by 12% for upper secondary teachers in the Flemish Community of Belgium (Table D3.7, available on line).

Over the period 2015 to 2020, for which two-thirds of OECD countries and other participants have comparable trend data for at least one level of education, around three-quarters of these countries showed an increase in real terms in actual salaries. On average across OECD countries and other participants with available data for all the reference years between 2015 and 2020, actual salaries increased by about 2% at primary level, 2% at lower secondary level and 5% at upper secondary level. The increase exceeded 20% in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic (Table D3.7, available on line).

Statutory salaries, based on pay scales, are only one component of the total compensation of teachers and school heads. School systems may 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 D3.10 and D3.11, available on line).

Criteria for additional payments vary across countries. In the large majority of countries and other participants, 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 D3.8, 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 the countries and other participants with available information. It is also common to award 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 D3.8, 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 three-fifths of the OECD countries and other participants 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 D3.8, 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, 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 D3.9, available on line).

Among the 32 countries and other participants with available data, around one-quarter provide additional compensation to school heads for participating in management tasks above and beyond their usual responsibilities as school heads or for working overtime. At lower secondary level, about half of the countries and other participants provide additional compensation for teachers when they take on extra responsibilities, but do not provide any additional payments to school heads (Tables D3.8 and D3.9, available on line). The extent to which school heads receive additional compensation for taking on extra responsibilities and the activities for which school heads are compensated vary across 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 other participants with available data, just as teachers are. However, Austria, England (United Kingdom), Israel, Portugal and Türkiye reward teachers for outstanding performance, but not school heads. In contrast, school heads in Colombia and Spain are rewarded for high performance, but teachers are not. In Spain, this allowance is fixed after a positive performance evaluation and can be kept for the rest of their working life. 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 D3.8 and D3.9, available on line).

Both teachers and school heads are also liable to receive additional payments for working in disadvantaged, remote or high-cost areas in half of the countries and other participants with available data, except in Australia, where such incentives are only provided to teachers (Tables D3.8 and D3.9, 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 25-64, 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 is 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 Statistics database. The period of reference for teachers’ salaries is from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. The reference date for PPPs is 2020/21, 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. 2021). Tables with salaries in national currency are included in Annex 2. To calculate changes in teachers’ salaries (Tables D3.6 and D3.7, available on line), the deflator for private consumption is used to convert salaries to 2015 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 X2.8 and X2.9 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 2021 reference year used for salaries of teachers or school heads, a deflator has been used to adjust earnings data to 2021. For all other ratios in Table D3.2 and those in Table D3.5 (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.

For more information, please see the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics 2018 (OECD, 2018[5]) and Annex 3 for country-specific notes (https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2022_X3-D.pdf).

Data on salaries and bonuses for teachers and school heads are derived from the 2021 joint OECD/Eurydice data collection on salaries of teachers and school heads. Data refer to the 2020/21 school year 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 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] OECD (2020), Education at a Glance 2020: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/69096873-en.

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

[5] OECD (2018), OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics 2018: Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://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://doi.org/10.1787/9789264018044-en.

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