Are teachers really paid less in France than elsewhere in Europe?

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The salaries of French teachers are often presented as lower than those of their European counterparts. What is it really?

In this new school year, the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, announces the opening of a dialogue on the issue of teachers' salaries. Their incomes are often presented as lower than those of their European counterparts. True or false ?

The relevant data are those provided annually by the OECD in Education at a Glance. The latest edition (2018) focuses on 2017 revenues and earnings are compared in purchasing power parity, based on, among other things, statutory salaries (those of official scales), gross before taxes and without potential premiums.

It can be seen that the salary of a French teacher at the beginning of a career is lower than the average salary of his colleagues in the European Union in primary, secondary and high school. It is difficult to establish comparisons for kindergarten since many countries do not have a similar system.

The salary remains below the average of the teachers of the European Union – and is growing even – after fifteen years of career. The salaries of French teachers are average at the end of their careers for primary school teachers and remain below average in middle and high school.

If we look at the situation of a college teacher at the beginning of a career, we see that he earns twice less than his German counterpart and a little more than his Italian colleague.

Its income is higher than that of teachers working in Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia or Latvia. They are twice as high as those of his Polish colleagues. On the other hand, the income of the French teacher is lower than in Sweden and Finland and much lower than in Denmark. They are also lower than those of Austrian, Irish, Dutch, Belgian, Spanish or Portuguese teachers.

The French teacher at the beginning of his career earns more than his English counterpart but less than his Scottish colleague.

Most of these comparatives remain accurate after fifteen years of career. The highest paid teachers are in Luxembourg. This is valid regardless of the type of education and the level of career. A junior high school teacher earns in Luxembourg more than two and a half times more than the French teacher.

Luxembourg and France have one thing in common: the wage gap between the beginning and the end of a career is similar (around 73%), with a slow increase in France at the beginning of a career and a faster end of career. . In Denmark, for example, the progression between the beginning and the end of a career is only 20 to 30% … but with therefore different starting salaries.

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