Does the average salary in Serbia paint a wrong picture?

The average salary in Serbia paints a wrong picture of the living standard in the country because the median salary, i.e. the one received by half of the employees in the country, is very low and in constant decline, according to the economists.

According to the data collated by the State Statistics Office, the gross average salary in March was 133,373 dinars, while the average salary without taxes and contributions amounted to 96,913 dinars.

The growth of gross wages in the period January-March this year compared to the same period last year was 15 percent nominally, or 8.8 percent in real terms, while the average net wage was higher by 14.9 percent nominally, or 8.7 percent in real terms.

Compared to the same month in 2023, the average gross salary for March is nominally higher by 13.3 percent and in real terms by 7.9 percent, while the average net salary is nominally higher by 13.4 percent and in real terms by eight percent. The median net salary in Serbia for March amounted to 72,979 dinars, which means that 50 percent of employees earned a salary up to the stated amount.

The highest median salary is about 24,000 dinars lower than the average salary in Serbia, i.e. it ranges between 60,000 and 65,000 dinars. In comparison, the minimum consumer basket is worth 53,000 dinars, according to the latest data.

Economist Branko Pavlović says that the increase in salaries in Serbia is conditioned by the increase in inflation in the last year and partially this year and that if the growth of the cost of living is taken into account, the living standard of people in Serbia is in constant decline.

“The average salary is mathematically calculated statistical data that does not show the real situation, i.e. the living standard in this country. We would get a better picture in this regard if we look at the data on real wage increases and those figures are lower than the nominal ones. Also, if we take into account the increase in wages versus the increase in food prices and utility costs, we can clearly see that the living standard has been declining. Namely, employees who receive a median salary spend most of that money on food and utilities, which means that they are left with very little money to live on,” Pavlović added.

President of the Sloga Association of Trade Unions, Željko Veselinović, notes that the difference between the average and median wages in Serbia is completely unacceptable and shameful.

“The claims that salaries and living standard of people in Serbia are growing is a made-up story. On the contrary, personal incomes are low and insufficient to live a quality life. I do not believe that the statistical data on the average and median salary in our country are true. I do not trust the state institutions that generate these figures, such as the State Statistics Office and I am confident that the official figures of the average and median salary are “inflated” in order to present the situation better than it actually is”, adds Veselinović.

(Danas, 27.05.2024)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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