The average gross wage in Hungary rose by 10.6 % year on year to 343,469 forints (EUR 1,070) in January, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. Net wages grew at the same pace, reaching 228,407 forints. Wage growth in Hungary has been in the double digits for almost two years, since the government, employers and unions agreed on a series of minimum wage increases paired with payroll tax cuts. Calculating with twelve-month CPI of 2.7% in January, real wages were up by 7.7%.
Excluding the 112,400 Hungarians in fostered work programmes, the average gross wage rose by 9.6 % to 354,200 forints, while net wages grew at the same rate to 235,550 forints. Excluding fostered workers, the average gross wage in the business sector, which includes state-owned companies, rose by 11.6 % to 360,400 forints. The average wage in the public sector increased by 3.8 % to 341,000 forints.
The data confirm a gender pay gap: men employed full time in Hungary earned gross 376,700 forints in January, while women earned 311,300 forints.
Finance Minister Mihály Varga said wages had grown in parallel with jobs growth. He noted that wage increase in the private sector was even higher than in the public sector. The extremely low unemployment rate of 3.6% forced employers to keep skilled workers by increasing their wages, a statement by the finance ministry said. In the long term, wages in the business sector and the public sector should not diverge, which is partly why wages for police and defence staff, skilled workers in the health sector and local council employees have been increased, he added. In comparison with Visegrad Group countries, gross average wages grew fastest in Hungary between 2010 and 2019, Varga said. Compared with January 2010, net average wages have grown by 64%, in the case of families with a child by 70%, families with two children by over 83% and in the case of three or more children, net average wages doubled, he said.