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Indicator 14. Public School Teachers' Starting Salaries

Of the G-8 countries reporting data in 2008 , Germany reported the highest average starting salary of public school teachers at both the primary and upper secondary levels, followed by the United States.

This indicator presents a cross-country comparison of the average annual salaries of full-time public school teachers with the minimum training necessary to be fully qualified at the beginning of their teaching careers. Comparisons are presented across two education levels: primary and upper secondary. The indicator also compares the ratio of these average starting salaries to the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita for each of the reporting countries.

Germany reported the highest average starting salary of public school teachers in 2008 at both the primary and upper secondary levels (primary: $43,500; upper secondary: $51,700) among G-8

Definitions and Methodology

Teacher salary data are from the 2009 OECD Indicators of National Education Systems (INES) Survey on Teachers and the Curriculum and refer to the school year 2007–08. Data for GDP per capita are for calendar year 2008. Dollar figures for teacher salaries and GDP per capita were converted to U.S. equivalent dollars using purchasing power parities (PPPs), which equalize the purchasing power of different currencies. PPP exchange rate data are from the 2007–08 OECD National Accounts Database (OECD 2010b). Using PPPs to convert all teacher salary data to U.S. equivalent dollars allows for cost of living differences across countries to be taken into account.

Salaries refer to scheduled salaries according to official pay scales, and are defined as before-tax, or gross, salaries (the total sum paid by the employer for the labor supplied), excluding the employer’s contribution to social security and pension (according to existing salary scales). In addition, differences by country in taxation and social benefit systems as well as the use of financial incentives (including regional allowances for teaching in remote regions, family allowances, reduced rates on public transport, tax allowances on purchases of cultural goods, and other entitlements that contribute to a teacher’s basic income) make it important to exercise caution in interpreting comparisons of teachers’ salaries.

Countries with centralized systems of education typically have national salary schedules. In countries like the United States, with decentralized education systems, local or regional governments establish their own salary schedules. The national averages shown here do not represent the within-country variation that exists in teacher salaries.

The minimum training necessary to be fully qualified varies by country. In the United States, teacher training is decentralized and varies by state.

As shown in the figure and table, education levels are defined according to the 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED97). For more information on the ISCED97 levels, see appendix A.