Most of the Serbian workforce has a salary that is lower than the one cited by the Statistical Office which, in October this year (according to the latest statistical data), amounted to 45,281 Dinars.
Which is why every press release by the National Statistical Office about the average salary in Serbia is usually met by disbelief and skepticism by the general public.
The average salary is calculated by taking the cumulative amount of salaries of all of the employees in Serbia, and this information is supplied by the Tax Administration, which is then divided by the number of salaries.
However, in reality, the highest earners give a distorted picture of how much is the real average salary in Serbia. In developed countries, for instance, the so-called median salary is taken as the real indicator of the population’s living standard. The median wage is literally the wage “in the middle”, meaning that half of the workers earned below this level.
According to the professor at the Belgrade Faculty of Economics, Mihailo Arandarenko, the usual distribution of salaries in an average economy is that 2/3 of wages are below the average, and 1/3 above the average. Because of such distribution, the median salary is usually lower than the average one by between 10% and 15%, Arandarenko says. In case of Serbia, that would mean that the average wage in our country ranges from 38,500 to 40,750 Dinars.
Unfortunately, and unlike other European countries, there is no official statistical data about the median wage in Serbia. President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Zoran Vujovic think sthat high salaries in public enterprises and large-state owned companies, agencies and public administration definitely raise the average salary thus distorting the real picture of what the average salary in Serbia really is.
“In work intensive economic branches the salaries are usually minimal. Foreign investors who opened factories here because of our cheap labour are usually paying out minimum wages, as do small companies and small business owners. The information that the average salary is 45,000 Dinars is not realistic. Statistics can give an overall picture of the situation, but it is not really scientifically accurate”, says Vujovic and adds that artisan shops, small business owners and SMEs in Serbia have around 800,000 employees.
This post is also available in: Italiano