Labour costs above-average in Germany

According to the Federal Statistical Office, in 2004 labour costs in Germany (gross pay plus non-wage labour costs) were about one third higher than the average EU labour costs. One average German employers paid 28.17 Euros per working hour. Contrary to expectations this was not caused by non-wage labour costs which amounted to 33 Euros per 100 Euros gross pay which is a figure 3 Euros lower than the average EU non-wage labour costs (36 Euros).

According to the Federal Statistical Office, different employer´s contributions to social systems in Europe led to a broad range of non-wage labour costs: with 51 Euros per 100 Euros of gross pay Swedish employers paid most non-wage labour costs, followed by France with about 50 Euros. The lowest non-wage labour costs were paid in Malta with less than 10 Euros per 100 Euros of gross pay.

However, by European comparison German labour costs were above average in 2004. Whereas a German employee received 28.17 Euros per working hour, the European average amounted to 20.66 Euros. In this respect Germany ranked sixth in Europe after Denmark (31.98 Euros), Sweden (31.15 Euros), Belgium (30.36 Euros), Luxembourg (30.09 Euros) and France (28.85 Euros). Labour costs were lowest in the two new member states of Bulgaria (1.62 Euros) and Romania (1.90 Euros).

In the manufacturing sector which is particularly exposed to international competition labour costs amounted to on average 31.15 Euros per hour in 2004 which meant that Germany exceeded the EU average (20.15 Euros) by exactly 11 Euros or almost 55% and was only surpassed in this sector by Belgium (32.36 Euros) and Sweden (32.11 Euros). Once again these costs were lowest in Bulgaria (1.39 Euros) and Romania (1.60 Euros).

The above figures come from the EU-wide labour cost survey 2004 the results of which are now available. For more detailed information please download for free the following two brochures by the Federal Statistical Office: »Lohnnebenkosten im europäischen Vergleich« and »Arbeitskosten: Wo steht Deutschland in Europa?« GERMAN