The average net salary in Serbia in July was 65,070 dinars, but this does not say much about how much most of the workers actually earn because half have incomes up to 50,000 dinars and a third only up to 35,000 dinars.
Sarita Bradaš, a researcher at the Centre for Democracy Foundation, says that the highest average salaries are in public companies, while many employees of private companies do not have sufficient income to lead a decent life.
She points out that the State Statistics Bureau has not provided data for the past four years on how many people in Serbia receive the minimum wage, which is why the data cited now is outdated. However, according to the analysis conducted by the Fiscal Council, 20% of the employees in Serbia receive the minimum wage, which is more than 400,000 people, which makes Serbia the European record holder in the percentage of employees on the minimum wage.
The government often cites the average wage as a benchmark of economic progress and a promise of a better life for citizens. Two months ago, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, boasted that the average salary in March was 555 euros, and added that that was proof that Serbia “is winning”. Only recently, he said that the average salary in the country will reach 610 euros by the year-end.
According to the latest data from the State Statistics Bureau (RZS), the average net salary in June was 553.5 euros or 65,070 dinars, while the median was 15,000 dinars lower, meaning that as many as half of the Serbian population received a salary of up to 49,999 dinars. The survey conducted in September last year provides a lot of data about the distribution of salaries in Serbia, as almost every third employee in Serbia has a salary below 35,000 dinars.
Data from the State Statistics Bureau show that the distribution of salaries in the public and private sectors is also uneven: the average net salary in the public sector, where around 30 per cent of the workforce is employed, amounted to 72,000 dinars in June, 10,000 more than in the private sector.
Bradaš notes that when it comes to the public sector, it is important to separate public companies where salaries are significantly higher from local governments. “In state-run public companies, in June, the average salary was 81,630 dinars, in local public companies around 62.000, in state administration 79,356 dinars and in local administration just under 60,000,” she explains.
The largest number of employees, however, work in the private sector, where the average salary in June was around 62,000 dinars.
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