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Salary, holidays, productivity: How much in common do we really have with Europe?

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Since David Cameron promised an in-out referendum in the Conservative Party manifesto, the question of Britain’s membership of the European Union has rarely made it out of the headlines. 

With the referendum provisionally scheduled for autumn 2017, there has been a lot of speculation on what it actually means to be European and whether we’re in fact better off in or out of the bloc – how much do we actually have in common with our European counterparts?

We are probably all guilty of making assumptions about how we compare to other European countries, but how much do working lives really vary across the EU? 

We recently created an application at Qlik to analyse just that. The app, for the first time, collates data from various European sources in order to help paint a true picture of the different work trends of different European Union Member States. This includes data pertaining to our qualifications, salaries, industries and the hours we work, allowing us to see what exactly we have in common when it comes to our jobs– or if we’re going about our working lives completely differently.

By aggregating this data, we’ve discovered a number of insights around how the UK stacks up in Europe, helping us understand how we fare in the context of Europe and perhaps identify areas where we can learn from other regions. Some of the most interesting insights we’ve garnered from analysing this data include:

Brits earn more 40 per cent more than the European average despite working the sixth fewest hours in the EU

The average annual UK salary is just over €35,925 (over £25,000), nearly 40 per cent more than the European average of €26,051 (£18,228). 

This is perhaps unsurprising given that in the UK 31.5 percent of the population has a tertiary education qualification, and that 34.8 percent of the workforce is employed in the professional or managerial sector. 

However, we also found that we tend to work an hour less a week than the European average of 37.93. In a similar trend to the UK, the Germans, Danish and Dutch work the fewest hours per week but all come in the top five in terms of yearly salary.

Interestingly, the Greeks earn an average salary almost €9,000 below the EU average despite working the longest hours. The Greeks work four hours more a week on average, equating to almost half of an additional working day. 

However, we’re not that productive… 

When you cross-reference the data, we’re not very productive workers despite our high salaries. With the exception of France, four of the other five countries with the highest rates of productivity in the Eurozone are also amongst the five top countries in the Eurozone in terms of average salary.

Continue reading on page two…

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