2.11.2016

Statistics of the month: Teachers’ salary development has been moderate in Finland

In OECD countries teachers’ statutory salaries have increased moderately in real terms compared to 2005. In Finland, the statutory salaries increased, but the teachers’ purchasing power decreased slightly.

In Finland the salaries are negotiated nationally every 1-3 years. The salaries are defined in collective agreements for the educational sector. The negotiations are conducted between the Trade Union of Education and Local Authority Employers in Finland. Teacher salaries comprise a statutory basic salary, as well as elements based on tasks and responsibilities and increments paid on the basis of years in service and additional duties.

In OECD countries teachers’ statutory salaries have increased moderately in real terms compared to 2005. In Finland, the statutory salaries increased, but the teachers’ purchasing power decreased slightly. (Figure 1).


Figure1. Change in teachers’ salaries in OECD countries (2005-14)

OECD average index of change, among countries with data on statutory salaries for all reference years, for teachers with 15 years of experience and minimum qualifications (2005 = 100, constant prices). OECD Education at a Glance 2016.

Data on actual salaries is available for a limited number of OECD countries. In most of the OECD countries where data is available, the actual salaries in real terms have decreased slightly. In Finland the actual salaries have not changed in real terms since 2010.

In Finland the difference in salaries between pre-primary and upper secondary teachers is notable

In most countries, teachers’ salaries increase based on the level of education they teach. Figure 2 shows the differences in teachers’ statutory salaries after 15 years of experience in 22 EU-countries. In Finland, the statutory salaries at different levels of education (pre-primary, primary, lower and upper secondary) were slightly below EU22 average, except for the pre-primary level, where the statutory salary is significantly lower than the EU22 average. The statutory salaries were the lowest in Slovak Republic, Hungary and Czech Republic. By contrast, the highest statutory salary in all mentioned levels is in Luxembourg.

Figure 2. Teachers' statutory salaries after 15 years of experience in 2014- EU22 Countries (in US dollars)

Annual teachers' salaries, in public institutions, in equivalent USD converted using PPPs for private consumption. OECD Education at Glance 2016.

Teachers’ salary development modest in Finland

The years of working experience affects teachers’ salaries differently across Europe and among OECD countries. The salary development, based on the years of working experience, is quite small in Finland. Finnish teachers reach their maximum in terms of age increments after 20 years. After 20 years their salary is 30 per cent higher compared to their starting salary. The OECD average is 37-40 per cent. The biggest increase in salary (above 100 %) can be found in Chile, Hungary, Israel and Romania.

Teachers may be rewarded for the quality or value of their work with additional payments following a positive performance appraisal. In Finland, similarly to Estonia, Denmark and Sweden, the criteria are locally determined.

School heads’ salaries are influenced by the size of their schools

Salary data for school heads is only available for the European countries. In Europe the minimum statutory salary for school heads is always higher than the minimum salary for teachers in all the levels from primary to upper secondary. The salary of school heads is usually positively correlated with the years of working experience, responsibilities and the level of education where they work in. The salaries are influenced by the size of the school in Finland and 15 other countries.

Table 1 shows the actual salaries of public school teachers and school heads in Finland.

Table 1 Minimum basic statutory salary and the average actual salary of teachers and school heads in euros – Finland

(Source: Eurydice. Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2015/16)

In OECD countries teachers’ statutory salaries have increased moderately in real terms compared to 2005. In Finland, the statutory salaries increased, but the teachers’ purchasing power decreased slightly.