For members


RANKED: Where are workers’ salaries highest and lowest in Spain?

While the latest figures reveal that Spain's average salary is €24,396 gross per year, there are huge differences in wages between Spain's 50 provinces. Here's where workers can expect to get paid most and least.

RANKED: Where are workers' salaries highest and lowest in Spain?
People earn the most amount in the Basque Country. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA / AFP

The latest figures made available from the Spanish government showed that Spaniards earned an average gross salary of €24,396 in 2019, 1.6 percent more than the previous year.

However, the most common salary earned was a lot less than this at just €18,490, according to the Annual Labor Structure Survey released on June 21st 2021 by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE).

According to El Economista, the professions that earn the highest annual salary are those that work in the supply of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning (€52,162 on average), followed by financial services (€44,302) and communication and information jobs (€34,641). On the other end of the scale, those who work in the hospitality sector earned an average of €14,561, with those in administrative activities earning €17,107 and those in artistic professions €18,088 per year.

So, where in 2019 in Spain did people earn the highest gross annual salary and where did they earn the least? It seems that there’s a definite north-south divide when it comes to earnings, as eight of the top ten provinces are located in the northern half of the country.

Basque Country
Surprisingly it’s not in the provinces which are home to Spain’s two largest cities where residents earned the most, but in the northern region of the Basque Country. Here people earned an average of €28,032. Many people in the Basque Country are employed in industry and engineering. 

Note that the figures for the Basque Country are given as a whole as data has not been released for its three separate provinces.

Bordering the Basque Country, people in Navarra earned the second-highest average salary at €26,604. People here work in similar professions to those in the Basque Country. The region’s capital of Pamplona is home to Spain’s annual San Fermin Festival or Running of the Bulls.

People in Spain’s capital of Madrid earned the country’s third-highest salary at €25,904. While the salaries are still high compared to much of Spain, they are still considered low for Europe and low compared to the monthly rental prices in the city at an average of €848 per month. 

People in Madrid earned the third-highest salary in Spain in 2019. Photo: Julius Silver / Pixabay

And if Madrid comes in at number three, then it only makes sense that Spain’s second-largest city and its surrounding province come in next at €23,470 per year. This is expected given that both Catalonia and Madrid contribute the most to GDP. 

The two very surprising entries in the top five are Spain’s African enclaves of Ceuta and Mellia, which are also the only two areas in the top 10 that are located in the south of the country. Those in Ceuta earned an average of €22,287.

Melilla, Spain’s other African enclave comes at number five. Its citizens earned an average of €20,972.

The province of Burgos in Castilla y León comes in next, where residents earned an average of €20,867. 

Another province in Castilla y León, Valladolid comes in at number seven. Its residents earned an average of €20,689.

Asturias comes in next with an average salary of €20,650. The northern region is known for its spectacular natural areas, including the Picos de Europa National Park, as well as its dairy products such as cheese and milk.

The province which is the home to the capital of Aragón – Zaragoza is next on our list with an average salary of €20,572. 

Located in the central region of Castilla-La Mancha, Guadalarja comes in next with an average salary of €20,523.

A Coruña
Galicia’s capital and its province of A Coruña is next, with an average of €20,385. As well as hospitality, here many people are employed in construction, commerce and professions that have to do with sea, such as fishing or boat building. 

Another northern Spanish region, those in Cantabria earned an average of €19,890. Cantabria is known for its seafood, natural sights, and wild coastline. Its capital is Santander, is also a big tourist destination, given that many ferries dock here from the UK. 

La Rioja
Spain’s wine country of La Rioja is next, where people earned an average salary of €19,747.

Many in La Rioja are employed in the wine industry. Photo: Jill Wellington / Pixabay

The province home to the biggest city in southern Catalonia is Tarragona. It’s known for its ancient Roman ruins and its and wide sandy beaches. People there earned an average of €19,738.

Situated in Castilla y León, Soria might not be very well known throughout Spain, but those that do make it there will be able to admire its medieval streets and Romanesque architecture. People there earned an average of €19,535.

The capital of the Valencian Community and its surrounding province comes somewhere in the middle of our list, which is surprising given that the city of Valencia is Spain’s third-largest, behind Madrid and Barcelona. Here people earned an average of €19,313. 

Northern Catalonia’s most important province, Girona comprises the ancient city of the same name, as well as the area of the Costa Brava, which attracts many tourists each year. Here, people earned an average of €19,173 for the year. 

Balearic Islands
People in Spain’s Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera earned an average of €19,153. Many of its residents are employed in the hospitality sector, given the popularity of the islands as holiday destinations.

Another little-known province in Castilla y León, those in Palancia earned an average of €18,895. 

The capital of Castilla y León and its province is next on our list, where residents earned an average of €18,842. 

And yet another of Castilla y León’s provinces is Salamanca, where residents earned an average of €18,647. The city of Salamanca is known for its stunning architecture and famous university. 

In the Valencian Community’s northern-most province, people here took home an average of €18,576. The area’s biggest towns and most well-known towns are Castelló, Benicàssim and Peñíscola. Many people here are employed in hospitality or tourism. 

The province of Lleida lies in the eastern part of Catalonia, but is not as well known as some of its other provinces and is not visited by mass tourism as some of its other provinces. Here people earned an average of €18,570 per year. 

Located on the central Galician coastline, citizens in Pontevedra took home an average of €18,529 per year. 

The province of Huesca lies just north of Zaragoza in the region of Aragón. Here, people earned an average of €18,330. 

Another Aragónese province comes next on our list, but this time south of Zaragoza. Here people earned an average annual salary of €18,061. 

Despite being located in northern Spain and the region of Galicia, people in Lugo only earned an average of €17,959. 

Situated northwest of Madrid in the country’s Castilla y León region, those in Segovia earned an average of €17,939. 

The city of Segovia. Photo: NakNakNak / Pixabay

Another Galician province on our list, those in Ourense earned an average of €17,614. 

The province of Toledo may lie just south of Madrid, but its residents earned far less than their neighbours. Here, people earned an average of just €17,426. 

Las Palmas
The province of Las Palmas covers the eastern part of the Canary Islands, which includes the island of Gran Canaria and its capital, also called Las Palmas. Many people here are employed in tourism and earned an average of €17,350. 

Another Castilla y León province, Ávila is located just north of Madrid, however, its residents earn a lot less here, with an average of €16,993. 

The small region of Murcia is next on our list, where people earned an average of €16,828. 

Given that the province of Seville and its capital of the same name is also Andalusia’s capital and a popular tourist destination, it may be surprising that it comes pretty far down our list, with its citizens earning an average of just €16,816. 

Located in Castilla-La Mancha, people living in the province of Albacete earned an average of €16,764. 

Yet another Castilla y León province, those in Zamora earned an average of €16,735. 

The province of Tenerife comprises the western part of the Canary Islands. Like in the province of Las Palmas, many are employed in tourism but earned a lot less than their neighbours with an average of €16,649. 

Andalusia’s Malaga province may be home to places such as Marbella and Puerto Banus – playgrounds of the rich and famous, but its citizens only earned an average of €16,527. 

Ciudad Real
Situated in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, those living here earned an average of €16,483. 

Located in the Valencian Community and home to the most British residents in Spain, people are attracted to Alicante because of its beaches, great weather, and low cost of living. Those in this province earned an average of €16,467. 

One of the oldest cities in Europe, Cádiz and its province is located in southern Andalusia. Those living here earned an average of €16,390 for the year. 

Located in Castilla-La Mancha, Cuenca is known for its UNESCO World Heritage hanging houses or Casas Colgadas. Here, people earned an average of just €15,982. 

Residents in the Andalusian province of Granada earned an average of €15,982. While the city of Granada is its capital, this province is also home to the rural area of the Alpujarras, where many are employed in things such as farming or sheep shearing. But, its residents do get free tapas with every drink. 

Located in western Extremadura, those in Cáceres earned an average of €15,982. 

The Andalusian province of Córdoba may be known for its rich Moorish architecture and charming whitewashed houses, covered in flowers, but its residents certainly aren’t rich, having earned an average of just €14,602 for the year. 

Those in Cordoba earned some of lowest salaries in the country. Photo: Viktor Levit / Pixabay

Another Andalusian region that is popular with foreign residents is Almería. Here people earned an average of just €14,469. 

Located in the southwest region of Extremadura, those in Badajoz earned an average of €14,435. 

Located in western Andalusia, close to the border with Portugal, many people in this province are employed in the agricultural industry. This is the second-worst place for salaries in the country at just €13,652 for the year. 

People in Andalusia’s northern province of Jaén, earned the least amount in the whole country at just €13,450.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Spain plans to raise its minimum wage by as much as €250

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


New haulier strike starts in Spain: What you need to know

Truck drivers in Spain started an indefinite strike on Monday which may threaten the supply of food and goods ahead of Black Friday and Christmas. Here’s how the stoppage could affect you based on what happened the last time.

New haulier strike starts in Spain: What you need to know

Spain’s National Platform for the Defence of Transport last week called an indefinite strike from Monday November 14th, for which it received support from 86 percent of its associated companies.

In a statement, they have called truckers from around Spain to join a demonstration at Madrid’s Atocha train station at 10am on Monday, adding that representatives from Spain’s agriculture, hospitality and livestock sectors will also be present.

This situation is similar to the strike which happened in March 2022, lasting for 20 days and leaving many supermarket shelves empty.

Small transport companies and self-employed truckers have criticised that agreements reached in the spring and ratified in August by the Spanish government have not been complied with. 

Among the agreed measures was a new law preventing them from working at a loss and a new package of direct aid for the sector of €450 million.  

Lorry drivers claim that wages have not risen and they are still working at a loss while stating that they will be even more stretched in the coming weeks due to Black Friday and the Christmas period.

“It’s worth nothing if a law is created but not monitored, there is no intent to implement it and give a solution to the problem”, said Manuel Hernández, the president of the platform, at a press conference on Monday November 7th.

He also claims that as a result of this inaction, 250 Spanish transport companies are having to close every month.

In response, Spain’s Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez said that working conditions of carriers “have improved substantially” and that the current situation is very different to what it was a few months ago. “It makes no sense that a new strike should take place right now”, she continued.  

Some farming, logistics and hospitality groups have also slammed the planned strike, calling it “irresponsible” for threatening the supply chain at a time when “thousands of companies have their earnings on the line”.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called upon the transport companies to act “responsibly”.  

How will the strike affect me?

More than 100 million deliveries are expected to be carried out in Spain between Black Friday and the Christmas period, by far the busiest time of the year. 

Experts don’t know exactly yet what damage the strike will be this time, but last March losses amounted to €600 million a day, with the supply of basic products and raw materials seriously affected. 

These included food products such as sunflower oil, milk and other fresh products from Andalusia and Murcia, where the strike caused the most damage.

It also had an impact on traffic due to road blockades, it resulted in fuel and building material shortages, led to the temporary closure of vehicle factories due to a lack of spare parts and even threatened the supply of tap water in northern Spain.  

Distributors, restauranteurs and other business owners don’t want the situation to be repeated. They are demanding “safety and guarantees for the supply of products and raw materials”. 

For toy stores as well as drinks and spirits manufacturers, the lead up to Christmas is the most crucial part of the business year.

There are approximately 365,000 lorry drivers in Spain. Around half of the country’s transport companies are run by self-employed workers, and a further 30 percent are small businesses with fewer than five trucks.

The fact that so much of Spain’s haulier network is made up of microbusinesses with mid to low earnings highlights how exposed the country’s logistical machine is.

In the worst-case scenario, a prolonged trucker strike that continues into December, could mean that anyone doing their Christmas shopping finds that certain items are not available, that they have to pay more for them or wait longer to get them.  

The war in Ukraine has already reduced some transport links across Europe, so indefinite strikes could cause the situation to worsen.

Spanish authorities will now be looking to avoid scenes of half-empty shelves in some supermarkets once again.

Supermarket officials have said that since the strike was announced last week, they haven’t noticed any panic buying on the part of shoppers. There are no indications yet that they will struggle to stock their products, but they are also cautiously waiting to see the turnout at the first round of protests on Monday to evaluate the impact.

It’s worth noting that the last time Spanish hauliers carried out a stoppage in March, they helped convince the Spanish government to implement a state-subsidised reduction of 20 euros cents per litre of fuel for all people in Spain, not just for transport workers.