Do you earn more or less than the French average?

Do you earn about 2500 euros per month? So you are average. In fact, the average French salary for 2020 is exactly 2,518 euros per month for full-time work in the private sector, according to a study by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) published on April 26.

But behind this figure hides more complexity. Thus, nearly 80% of employees receive between minimum wages (1,219 euros) and 3,400 euros per month, again according to an INSEE study. In detail, one in ten employees earns less than 1,343 euros per month, while one in ten earns more than 4,033 euros.

“Wages are steadily increasing,” recalls Clemens Pearson, a labor economics researcher at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Evaluation of Public Policy (LIEPP): a research platform at Sciences Po.

The average monthly net salary (before tax) was €2,005 in the private sector in 2020, an increase of 2.7% over one year.

Salary sequence varies across occupations

In the context of inflation, salary increased by 3.2% on average over one year. But let’s not get too excited so quickly. These numbers result more from “temporary changes in employment composition, which are attributable to the health crisis, rather than from individual salary increases,” writes INSEE.

During the health crisis, lower-skilled (and lower-paid) jobs were hardest hit by these job changes. The people most likely to work short time were actually employees and workers, who were actually less likely to prefer telecommuting than executives. “Lowest-paid jobs have been suspended or reclassified as underemployment. As a result, only the best-paid employees remain in the business; this is called the fitting effect, explains Clemens Pearson, explaining that this study excludes part-time jobs and therefore lower-paying jobs.

Thus, in 2020, wages rose differently according to socio-professional categories (CSP): + 2% for managers, + 1.9% for employees, + 1.4% for middle professions and + 0.7% for workers. But the average net monthly salary also varies by sector of activity: it amounted to 2773 euros in industry, 2275 euros in construction and 2485 euros in the service sector.

It is evident that the more executives in the sector, the higher the average salary. Thus, it was 3,750 euros in finance, 3,583 euros in information and communications, but 1,681 euros in the scientific and technical sector (where there are more workers).

Women, is still the biggest loser, but there are better

If we prefer to refer to the average net hourly wage, the latter stands at €16.30 for the entire private sector in 2020; An increase of 3.6% compared to 2019. And again, the differences are different according to the CSP: “Executive directors, at 28.30 euros on average, are about 2.5 times higher than employees (11.6 euros) and workers (12) euros) ” , INSEE announces in its study.

And this overall upward trend should continue, or even increase due to inflation and the automatic rise in Smic: “The last increase occurred on May 1. The Bank of France estimates that wages will rise by about 3.5% in 2022, warns Clemence Persson.

Note that inequality persists and that women still earn less than men: 15.2% less than that year, INSEE writes. “This gap has narrowed by 0.9 points compared to 2019 and by 5.7 points since 2008,” INSEE adds.

This very small reduction in the wage gap between men and women in 2020 is “in part explained by Pepa Bonus payments (the purchasing power premium, otherwise known as the “Macron Bonus”) and Covid that has benefited more women.”

The average net monthly wage in the private sector thus amounts to €1,881 for a woman compared to €2,101 for a man; With a difference of 220 euros per month.

Infographic source: Capital

And the higher the wages, the bigger the gaps: 1% of men working in the private sector earn more than 10,847 euros per month, compared to 7,698 euros for the top 1% of women in the private sector. The latter represents only 21.3% of 1% of the best-paid employees, compared to 41.6% of all private sector workers…

“Women work in low-paid jobs, with atypical and low-skill hours. But we see that even if many initiatives are taken, for equal positions and skills, men earn more than women … and this gap does not narrow”, warns the specialist in Labor market segmentation.

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