Average teacher salary relative to other professions requiring a comparable level of qualification


Annual gross statutory starting salary for a qualified primary or secondary teacher in public institutions relative to the average annual gross statutory starting salary for a basket of professions requiring a similar level of qualifications to qualified teachers. This indicator could be presented as a ratio.

Data source

At the national level, salary scales are usually available in ministries of education, and if the basket of comparable professions is for other government employees, salary scales would also be available in their respective ministries (e.g. ministry of health for nurses’ salary scale, ministry of interior for police salary scale). Labour force and/or socio-economic surveys carried out by statistical offices may collect some information about occupation and wages, but maybe not in a way appropriate for the calculation of this indicator.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

Annual gross statutory starting salary for a qualified primary or secondary teacher in public institutions, divided by annual gross statutory starting salary for a basket of professions which require a comparable level of education.

Data required

Salary scale for qualified teachers in public schools at the primary and secondary levels of education; salary scales of professions requiring similar level of qualifications.


If this indicator is presented as a ratio, a value above 1 would indicate that, from a starting salary perspective, the teaching profession is relatively attractive. A value below 1 would suggest that, relative to other professions requiring a similar level of qualifications, the teaching profession is less attractive. Assuming that relative salary is an important motivating factor to recruit quality teachers (and that is a fair assumption), an indicator with a higher value (above 1) could be considered a positive sign for the recruitment of candidates of quality.


The exact wording, definition and computation method for this indicator will need to be carefully considered and offer a compromise between ease of data collection, comparability and logical link with the target. For example, a choice must be made between statutory salary, remuneration (salaries and bonuses), or total compensation (salary, bonuses and employer pension contribution). Salaries are probably the simplest to collect, since bonuses are difficult to average as they vary depending on hours worked, location, etc. Pensions are sometimes provided by a central government agency and not by the Ministry of Education. However, salaries in themselves may not offer a good representation of what benefits a teacher will get, which includes bonuses and potential pension and/or other social security benefits. Whether starting salaries or salary after a certain number of years will be used must also be clarified. Statutory starting salary (not including bonuses, allowances and pension contributions) is recommended as a better choice than the more vague ‘average’ salary both from a data collection and logical point of view (since the target is about attracting good candidates, starting salary makes sense). Another important element to clarify is to which other occupations teachers will be compared. Ideally, the list would vary from country to country to reflect the reality of each labour market, but for a global data collection point of view this would be unrealistic. More suitable may be to decide on a few occupations (4-5) which, in general, require a similar level of qualification to a teacher, and collect salary data on these on a country-to-country basis. Whether the comparison will be made to each other occupation, or to an average for the chosen ‘basket’, also remains to be decided (an average for a basket of 4-5 professions is recommended).


To give an idea of the relative attractiveness of the teaching profession compared to other professions requiring a similar level of qualification. The rationale is that if salaries in the teaching profession are attractive, it is more likely to attract quality candidates.

Types of disaggregation

By level of education.