Teachers in Spain among the highest paid worldwide

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Emma Anderson - [email protected]
Teachers in Spain among the highest paid worldwide
A school in Madrid. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP.

A new report shows Spanish teachers start off earning more than in most countries worldwide. But their pay increases don't quite keep up with the rest over time.


Spanish lower secondary (middle school) teachers are among the highest paid in out of the 36 countries analyzed in a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Thursday.

The starting annual salary for a lower secondary teacher in Spain in 2014 was nearly $41,000 (about €36,000), which put Spain at fifth place worldwide, only behind Luxembourg (about $79,000), Switzerland ($60,000), Germany ($57,000) and Denmark ($46,000). 

Spain’s entry level salary for such teachers was also nearly $8,500 above the OECD average and the EU average, $32,485 and $32,274 respectively.

For primary school teachers, the entry level salary in Spain was $36,405, also above the OECD and EU averages of $29,494 and $28,934 respectively.

But the report also noted that while teachers in Spain may start off with higher salaries than in other countries, they do not see as many pay increases as their careers progress.

After 15 years, a Spanish middle school teacher can expect a bump up to less than $47,000 a year and can expect a peak of on average $57,000 during their lifetime. In comparison, Austrian teachers start at much lower bases than Spanish ones at about $34,000 per year, but after 15 years have caught up to Spanish teachers at nearly $47,000, and could earn more than $66,500 at the height of their career.

Funding for education

When it comes to investment in education, the Spanish government spends less than the OECD average on each student, the report also observed.

Spain spent less than $7,000 per primary school student (€6,200), while the OECD and EU averages were both about $8,500 per student. Spain also spent $8,520 on each secondary school student, compared to the OECD average of about $9,800 and the EU average of more than $10,000.

The report pointed to the global financial crisis as the reason behind why Spain was spending less.

“Most countries were spending more per student in 2013 than they did at the start of the crisis in 2008, with the exception of European countries hit hard by the economic turmoil: Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia and Spain.”



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