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What is considered a decent salary in Spain?

What's the average salary in Spain in 2022? Are there regional differences to consider? Here we explain in detail the reality of wages in Spain and what you should factor in if you're wondering whether your income is good or bad.

What is considered a decent salary in Spain?
Photo: Pixabay.

The average salary in Spain in 2022 is €24,009.12 per year, which works out to a gross income of €1,714.94 in 14 payments.

Although how much this works out to be as a monthly net amount depends on different conditions and tax deductions, this average gross income ends up being around €1,600 net a month. 

However, it is important to note that this amount doesn’t give the full picture, and there can be a lot of variances depending on where you live in Spain, whether you compare it to neighbouring countries and even depending on the calculation used to draw Spain’s average salary.

So, what is actually considered a decent salary in Spain?

Regional differences

According to the Spanish government, higher earners are those that earn above €46,225 gross a year, mid-income earners are those that make between €12,943 and €46,225, and low earners are those that earn below €12,943 a year.

But what is considered a decent salary is relatively subjective and can depend on where in Spain you live.

In fact, there are big regional differences when it comes to what is considered a good salary in Spain. The median gross salary in somewhere like Murcia (€1,893), for example, would be considered a very low salary in Madrid (€2,350).

Generally speaking, Spain’s northern regions such as the Basque Country (€2,278), Catalonia (€2,158) and Asturias (€2,161) all earn more on average, and salaries there would be considered very good compared to the southern regions such as Extremadura (€1,760) and Andalusia (€1,837).

READ ALSO: What are the average salaries in each region of Spain?

Therefore, workers from northern Spain might consider an average (or even marginally above average) salary in the south to be quite poor.

Extremadura has the lowest annual gross salary, at €19,947.80 a year, while the Basque Country is the region where workers earn the most, with an average of €28,470 in 14 payments.

With such stark differences between the richest and poorest regions, and north and south, you can see why the national average comes out at around €24,000.

But is this really considered a good wage by Spaniards? €24,000 may be the mean average salary, but is it an unrepresentative figure skewed by high earners?

So, what it the mode, or, in other words, the most common salary in Spain?

Most common (mode) income in Spain

The INE’s annual salary structure survey is a good way of understanding the differences between the average salary, the median salary and the most frequent salary of Spaniards each year.

The most frequent salary is measured by the mode and is the value that is most frequently observed in the sample data – that is to say, not the average, statistically speaking, but the most common salary Spaniards receive.

As Spain’s salary distribution is so asymmetrical, the most common salary is often far less than the median salary, which in turn is less than the average salary.

This is important to understand because for many Spaniards, an income below the official ‘average salary’ may well be considered a good salary – this is especially true if you factor in geography. 

In 2020 for example (the latest official data covering the whole spectrum of calculations, and the evidence suggests little has changed in terms of wages in 2022), the average annual salary in Spain was €24,395, the median salary €20,351, yet the most common or ‘modal’ salary was just €18,490 – a whopping 32 percent lower than the average wage.

Spain’s most common salary of €18,490 gross a year works out to be around €1,275 net a month, so €275 less than the €1,549 net a month for the average salary.

Since 2008 the average salary in Spain has always been between 30 percent and 48 percent higher than the most common salary: a difference of €5,500 to €7,400 per year less.

There’s even a word for low earners in Spanish – mileurista – a worker who earns around €1,000 a month.

Spanish cost of living

Nine European countries have average gross salaries above €2,500 per month, but Spain’s average gross salary of €24,000 is 20.2 percent lower than the EU-wide average.

However, when deciding what constitutes a good, poor, or decent salary in Spain, comparing it to other European countries, or even between regions within Spain, is not entirely useful or representative of purchasing power.

What might be considered an extremely low salary in say Sweden, Germany or the United Kingdom could be considered a decent income in Spain.

If you take into account the cost of living in Spain compared to other European countries (recent inflationary pressures aside), you simply need less money to have a decent standard of living.

Your money goes further in Spain, and people can have a good standard of living (including regularly eating out and taking a summer holiday) on salaries that might not even cover rent and travel in more expensive countries.

According to figures from Eurostat, the Price Level Index (PLI) for household consumption expenditure in Spain (97) is below the Euro area average (106) and far below other European countries such as Sweden (127.9), Holland (115.9) and Germany (108).

The cost of living in Spain is 22.6 percent cheaper than in United Kingdom. Renting a property in Spain, for example, is around a third (33 percent) cheaper than it is in the United Kingdom.

Keeping this in mind, a good or decent salary in Spain is fairly subjective. You need less money to get by, and what is a poor salary elsewhere could allow you to live a comfortable life in Spain.

Many in Spain might be content with an income that is below the official median salary but above the mode (somewhere in the €19,000-€23,000 range) because their income is decent relative to their peers.

And it’s worth remembering that Spain’s famous sunny weather and laid-back lifestyle will always be free.

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Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Here's what you need to know about the Black Friday sales in Spain in 2022, from when they start to which retailers are offering discounts and why the sales aren't always as good as they're made out to be.

Black Friday in Spain: What you should be aware of

Black Friday is the day when some of Spain’s biggest retailers hold huge sales and give massive discounts (or so they claim) in the run-up to the start of the Christmas shopping season.

The tradition originated in the US as it was held the day after Thanksgiving.

READ ALSO: Where Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving

While Spain doesn’t generally celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday, it does however go in for Black Friday in a big way, along with many other countries around the world.

Spain began getting in on the Black Friday action in 2011 when the regulations on promotions and sales changed.

When is Black Friday?

This year, Black Friday will be held on Friday November 25th, but many companies and online retailers decide to hold sales throughout the month or even extend them for a whole week instead of just one day.

For example, tech store MediaMarkt began giving discounts on November 1st and will continue its sales until November 30th, while Mr. Wonderful began its discounts early too on November 18th.

Inditex group (which includes clothes stores Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and Stradivarious) will publish their discounts online on Thursday November 24th.

Many stores will also extend their offers until Monday November 28th, which has become known as Cyber Monday. On this day, more tech companies and online retailers will be offering discounts too.

What will there be discounts on?

There will be Black Friday sales in Spain on everything from fashion and beauty to sports equipment, homeware and technology, among others.

Businesses are also allowing the return periods to be extended until January 6th 2023 or even into February, so that people can start their Christmas shopping early.

Spanish stores such as Mango, Zara and El Corte Inglés will all be having sales, as well as international and online retailers such as Amazon and Primark.

Swedish furniture giant Ikea will be doing something a little different this year, having a Green Friday where they’ll buy back some of your old furniture. 

According to a study by online marketing company Webloyalty, it is expected that online spending will grow by 25 percent compared to 2021, despite the rise in the cost of living and the financial squeeze many are experiencing.

Are Black Friday sales in Spain really that good?

Research conducted by Spanish consumer watchdog OCU over the past seven years has proven that many shops put the prices of their products up before Black Friday, so that the discounts they then apply aren’t really bargains for shoppers, but businesses get to capitalise on the shopping frenzy. 

In 2021, OCU spent 30 days writing down prices for almost 17,000 products in 52 stores. Almost a third of them rose in price (32.5 percent of the products), 11.8 percent of which cost less in the week of Black Friday. Overall, an average price rise of 3.3 percent was calculated.

There’s even a Twitter hastag #timofertasBF ( abit like ‘ripofferBF’) where user post the products that claim to be on discount but really aren’t.

Therefore, when it comes to big purchases in particular, make sure that you’re familiar with the average price of the product before Black Friday by comparing prices online. That should help you to ascertain whether you’re actually getting a good offer. 

If it’s a top-of-the-range product that’s just been released, don’t expect it to be on sale, and if it is, you should be suspicious.

Watch out for Black Friday scams

Be aware that while Black Friday can mean some great bargains, it’s also a day that brings out scammers and people who are waiting to steal your personal details.

In the past, there have been situations where second-hand items never arrive, the setup of fake online stores and discounts that contain malware.

You should particularly look out for phishing scams, where people try to steal your identity or personal details and fraudulent text messages.

Experts agree that there are several ways to protect yourself against potential Black Friday fraudsters including avoiding suspicious links or online shops you’re not aware of, using only official websites, creating strong passwords, not trusting any discounts that seem way too good to be true and using online security software.