If compared to 2008, the year of the financial crisis, the Spanish salary loses 7% of purchasing power


The average salary in Spain lost 4% of purchasing power in 2022 despite the increase in salaries, since the increase in consumer prices was higher that year, according to the IX Adecco Monitor on Salaries of The Adecco Group Institute.

The study explains that the increase in wages in Spain in the last year has been 4% (the second largest increase recorded since 2008), reaching 1,822 euros.

However, when discounting the variation in consumer prices of 2022, the average salary registers a loss in purchasing power, which if even compared to 2008 -the year of the financial crisis-, the Spanish salary loses 7% of purchasing power.

Thus, over the last five years there has been a cumulative fall in the purchasing power of average remuneration of 2.5%. This cut equates to a loss of almost 44 euros per month or 523 euros per year compared to 2017.

In the breakdown by sector for the year 2022, the report by The Adecco Group Institute reveals that in the three major economic activities, industry, construction and services, the average salary lost purchasing power.

The average construction wage suffered the most, with a reduction of 5%, which translates to approximately 85 euros less per month or 1,022 euros per year.

Construction is followed by industry, which had a real reduction of 4.6% in wages, which means 91 euros less per month or 1,088 euros less per year. The least affected sector was that of services, which registered a loss of purchasing power of 3.8%, which translates into 64 euros less per month or 772 euros per year.

The cumulative evolution of purchasing power throughout the 2017-2022 period shows that industry is the most affected, with a 6.3% reduction, followed by a 4.4% loss in purchasing power in construction and 1.4% in services.

In current euro terms, the loss of purchasing power with industry wages over the last five years equates to approximately 125 euros per month or 1,504 less per year.

For its part, the loss of this in construction is equivalent to almost 74 euros per month or 885 euros per year, while in services it represents a loss of almost 24 per month and 285 euros per year.

In terms of wage growth, services was also the sector that grew the most in 2022, with 4.3% more (0.3 points above the national average), followed by industry (3.4%) and construction (2.9%).

The average industrial salary in 2022 reached 2,040 euros per month, its maximum historical value. That of services was 1,790 euros per month, also a maximum for this sector, and that of construction was 1,751 euros, the highest since 2008.

In 2022, the salary difference between the largest and smallest companies was approximately 578 euros per month or 6,939 per year. This gap expressed in percentage terms is equivalent to 37%.

However, the gap in average wages between small and large companies has been narrowing, since in 2021 it was 41% and in 2017 it reached 45%. Therefore, the average remuneration of small companies is evolving better than that of large companies, indicates the study.

Specifically, last year, compared to the average remuneration of 1,822 euros per month, the largest companies (with 200 or more employees) paid 2,127 euros on average per month to their workers, that is, 305 euros more than the national average.

Small companies (1 to 49 employees), on the other hand, stood at an average of 1,549 euros per month (273 below the average), and medium-sized companies (50 to 199 employees) reached 1,919 euros (97 euros above the average).

Comparing the salaries between full-time and part-time contracts, in 2022 an average full-time worker received 2,095 euros per month, always in gross terms, compared to the 863 euros per month that a part-time employee received.

Despite this difference, over the last five years (2017-2022), the purchasing power of full-time average remuneration fell by 4.3%, while that of part-time increased by 2.4%.

For full-time employees, the highest average salary was received in industry, with 2,134 euros per month, while part-time workers received the highest remuneration in construction, where it reached 993 euros per month.

On the other hand, the lowest average salary for full-time employees was registered in construction, with 1,810 euros per month, while the lowest for part-time was in services, with 856 euros per month.

Thus, the relationship between the average full-time and part-time remuneration ranges from 1.8 times in construction to 2.5 times in services.

Each economic sector groups different sections of activity. Therefore, the study by The Adecco Group Institute breaks down the data from the three sectors into 18 activities.

Of the 18 sections of economic activity, only 5 present an improvement in their purchasing power in the period 2017-2022. All of them belong to the services sector.

This is, specifically, the real estate activity, which is the one with the greatest increase (5.4%), followed by other services (3.8%), public administrations (1.6%), education (1.2%) and information and communications (1%).

Regarding the increase in wages, the largest increase in average wages was in the hospitality industry, with 28.4%. This section presented a large drop in 2020 of 33.5% with the pandemic, which could not be offset by the 26.3% increase in 2021.

However, with this consecutive increase in 2022, he manages to exceed the average salary of 2019, which was 1,099 euros per month and reaches 1,186 euros. However, it continues to be the section with the lowest salary.

From 2017 to 2022, all the autonomous communities have lost purchasing power, Castilla-La Mancha being the one that has lost the most, with 6.1%, followed by Cantabria, with 5.9%, Asturias, with 5.6%, and La Rioja, with 5.2%.

Among the regions whose average wages lost a purchasing power of between 3% and 5% are: Castilla y León (-4.9%), the Basque Country (-4.7%), Andalusia (-3.6%), Navarra (-3.6%) and the Region of Murcia (-3.3%).

With decreases in the purchasing power of the average salary of less than 2.5% in this period, Extremadura (-2.4%), the Community of Madrid (-2.1%), the Canary Islands (-1.9%), the Balearic Islands (-1.9%), Aragón (-1.7%), the Valencian Community (-1.4%), Galicia (-1.2%) and, as the least affected community, Catalonia (-0.4%).

Only four autonomous communities showed in 2022 an average salary higher than the average for the entire country (1,822 euros per month). In order, they are: the Community of Madrid (2,139 euros per month), the Basque Country (2,099 euros per month), Navarra (1,971 euros per month) and Catalonia (1,954 euros per month).

In contrast, Extremadura has the lowest average salary (1,487 euros per month), followed by the Canary Islands (1,568 euros per month).