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Q: International Average Salary Data ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: International Average Salary Data
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: heidis-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 02 Sep 2003 17:29 PDT
Expires: 02 Oct 2003 17:29 PDT
Question ID: 251584
I need assistance in finding a resource that I am fairly sure exists
on the internet; attempting to compile this kind of information piece
by piece would be incredibly time consuming.  I am looking for
information regarding wages and salaries from around the world. 
Ideally this would be a table or chart that lists annual wages by
country converted to US dollars.  It does not need to be
based on any specific industry.  Additionally, I am looking for a
similar chart or table that lists the average education level of each
country's citizens.  I have tried to piece this information together
through searches on various counties (such as India, Ireland, Mexico,
Jamaica) and have found only industry-specific information, or data
that indicates percentage increases, not values from one particular
time.  I have taxed my research skills in trying to find a document or
site that contains this kind of comprehensive information.  I do not
want someone to assemble the data for me, but to lend a hand in
finding an existing resource, if it does indeed exist.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Sep 2003 18:59 PDT
If I understand your needs correctly, the education data you seek is
readily available from the United Nations.

The wage data is a different matter.  An online document comparing
wages around the world, and normalized to US dollars, is available for
sale ($5.00), but the data are 1999 vintage.  If that will suit your
needs, I can post the link to the article -- and the link to the UN
education data -- as an answer to your question.

More recent data is also available, but (a) there's a charge for it,
unless you can access it through a library and (b) it's a cumbersome,
convoluted data and if the data you need aren't already included in
published tables, then you'll need to tweak the database itself to
produce what you need.

I can include the links to the more recent data as well, but if you
can live with the 1999 coomparision, that might be your best bet.

Let me know your thoughts on this.


Clarification of Question by heidis-ga on 03 Sep 2003 04:18 PDT
For pafalafa: Yes, data from 1999 for average salary would do fine. 
Please post the link and thank you very much for your help!

For tutuzdad: The literacy data from the CIA's site is exactly what
I'm looking for, and it never ocurred to me to look there.

Thank you both for such prompt and helpful responses!
Subject: Re: International Average Salary Data
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 04 Sep 2003 18:16 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello again, heidis-ga, and thanks for a most challenging question. 
Sorry I did reply sooner, but this required more digging than I

Comparative information on wages in different countries turns out to
be a tough nut to crack.  The International Labor Organization
actually collects tons of information of this type, and has been doing
so for decades, but it has proven very difficult to actually make use
of the data for comparative purposes.  The data I originally alluded
to turned out to be too convoluted to be of any use.

With a bit of creative graph-reading, however, I think I can get you
an alternative source for the wage data you're looking for.

At this site:

the ILO summarizes its latest data on what it calls KILM 17.  KILM
stands for "Key Indicators of the Labor Market" and #17 is a reference
to the data collected on hourly compensation costs.

Figure 17a in this document is labeled:  Relative hourly compensation
costs (US=100), 2001

This is the data you want, as it compares average wages in very many
countries to those in the US for the relatively recent period of 2001.

However, there are two caveats:  

(1)  It's an index (the US is set arbitrarily to "100") rather than
actual wage numbers.  So a country like Singapore where the index is
"40" has an average wage 40% that of the US, while workers in Norway,
at "115" get 15% higher wages than US workers, on average.

(2) It's a graph, so you have to read the numbers off the figure,
rather than having a nice neat table already prepared.

That said, there's some real good information here.  The text that
accompanies the graph notes:  "The disparity in compensation costs
between economies continues to be wide, ranging from US$0.48 per hour
in Sri Lanka to US$22.99 in Germany..."

Knowing the range of real wages helps put actual numbers to the index.
 Wages in the US would be $20.00 per hour (keep in mind, these are
total compensation packages -- largely dominated by wages plus
benefits).  In a country like Portugal, with an index of "25" workers
would earn 25% of US wage earners, or about $5.00 an hour.

If you need any help interpreting the graph, or assigning dollar
values to the countries, just let me know, and I'll be glad to help
you further on this.

Somewhere in the ILO, someone has the raw data for this graph, with
the actual values of average wages in each country.  If you contact
them, they may be able to help you further...the unit that compiles
the KILM data can be reached at: 


You also asked about education data.  This is much more
straightforward.  This table from the United Nations Statistics

provides the number of years of schooling, on average, for the people
in almost every country.  The data ranges from a high of 16.9 years of
schooling for the average Australian, to only 2.1 years of schooling
in Mali.


I hope this is what you needed.  If any of this is not clear, or
requires furhter elaboration, just post a Request for Clarification to
let me know.  I'll be happy to assist you further.

heidis-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
I truly appreciate the extra assistance from the researchers.  This
was quite a challenge for me to find the information I needed, and I
was glad in a way that it was a challenge to them also!  It was
definitely worth the expense for me ot have this assistance.

Subject: Re: International Average Salary Data
From: tutuzdad-ga on 02 Sep 2003 20:00 PDT
Dear heidis-ga:

I can offer you this from the CIA WORLD FACTBOOK. Please let me know
if it meets your needs:


And here the countries are listed from highest income in terms of
individual purchasing power per capita to the lowest:

"This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by
population as of 1 July for the same year."

In addition, here is the world literacy data from the same source:
"This entry includes a definition of literacy and Census Bureau
percentages for the total population, males, and females. There are no
universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise
specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the
ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards
that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write
is beyond the scope of the Factbook. Information on literacy, while
not a perfect measure of educational results, is probably the most
easily available and valid for international comparisons. Low levels
of literacy, and education in general, can impede the economic
development of a country in the current rapidly changing,
technology-driven world."

Please let me know if this answers your qeustion and I'd be happy to
close the question for you.


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