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The Average Starting Salaries Around the World

The Average Starting Salaries Around the World

So you are fresh out of school and you are now expected and required to join the rat
race. Unless you are a graduate of a top school like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge or
Yale, it may be wise to temper your expectations on how much you could earn from
your first job. Chances are, you may only get the minimum wage.

The number, however, may vary depending on the country where you are located.
Some countries offer decent minimum wages, thus allowing its workers to live
properly on their starting salaries.

Highest Starting Salaries and Minimum Wages in the World

For accurate and correct comparison, the hourly wages are converted to US dollars.

10. New Zealand – $10.83 per hour


New Zealand offers a three-tier minimum wage structure. For those who are 18
years old and above, the starting salary per hour should at least be NZ$13.75. Kiwis
who are 16 to 17 years old, plus those who are still in training, receive a starting
wage of NZ$11 per hour. There is no law mandating the minimum hourly salary of
those below 16 years old, though that person most likely should be in school anyway
rather than in the workforce.

9. Canada – $10.95 per hour


The starting salary and minimum wage in Canada actually depends on the province
and territory. The lowest starting salary is in Alberta that only mandates an hourly
wage of C$9.75. This is even lower for servers of liquor as they are only paid C$9.05
per hour. In British Columbia, the starting salary is at least C$10.25 per hour, with
liquor servers given C$9 per hour. Manitoba has the same rate, though construction
workers are given a higher minimum salary. Nova Scotia’s starting salary is, at the
minimum, C$10.30 per hour, though it can go down to C$9.65 per hour for those
who have less than three months experience. Ontario’s average minimum starting
wage is C$10.25 per hour, though students under 18 may only get C$9.60
per hour, while homeworkers can get as much as C$11.28 per hour. Alberta and
Yukon adjust the amount depending on the annual consumer price index.

8. Netherlands – $11.77 per hour


In Euro figures, the Netherlands minimum starting salary is €8.4775 per hour. The
amount, however, applies only to those who are at least 23 years old. The employer
can adjust the figure if the employee is below 23 years old. The amount may vary
between 30 to 85 percent of the minimum wage depending on the worker’s age.

7. Ireland – $12.01 per hour


Ireland has a straightforward minimum wage structure. That means that even those
starting out on their first jobs can expect to receive an hourly rate of at least €8.65
per hour.

6. San Marino – $12.22 per hour


Like Ireland, San Marino also has a straightforward wage structure for those starting
out and earning only the minimum. Even workers fresh out of school should receive
at least €8.80 per hour.

5. Belgium – $12.67 per hour


Belgium adjusts the rate of its salaries depending on the person’s age and on
the length of service the person has provided to the company. For those who are
21 years old, the starting salary is only €9.12 per hour. Once you complete six
months of service and provided you are already at least 21 and a half years old, the
minimum salary goes up to €9.36 per hour. This further goes up once you already
have a full year of service, as all those experiences will be rewarded by an increase
in the minimum salary to €9.47 per hour. Aside from this, you can also expect to
receive substantial and extensive social benefits from the government.

4. France – $13.10 per hour


France has always been known for its high cost of living. To allow its workers to cope
properly, the mandated minimum starting salary is €9.43 per hour.

3. Monaco – $13.76 per hour


Monaco follows the structure that is followed in France. Workers can expect a
starting salary of at least €9.43 per hour in the principality, though they add to that
with an additional five percent adjustment.

2. Luxembourg – $15.05 per hour


Luxembourg employers can adjust the starting salary that they give to its workers
depending on their respective level of qualification. The absolute minimum amount
is €10.8335 per hour. This is given to workers that employers deem as unqualified.
If the employee is qualified, the employer can give him an additional 20 percent.
Adolescent workers, however, can only expect to receive a starting amount of less
than 25 percent of the mandated level.

1. Australia – $16.45 per hour


The starting salary for workers down under is set on the federal level by Fair Work
Australia. The amount may vary depending on the worker’s experience and age. For
those below 18 years old, the starting salary may be as low as A$9.22. For those
new to the job, the starting salary on the first year can be as low as A$10.22 per
hour. The amount then builds up as the employee gains further experience. By the
fourth year, the salary should be at least A$17.65 per hour.

Starting Out with the Minimum in the United States


Notably absent from the above list is the United States, the nation with the most
powerful economy in the world. Under federal law, the starting salary should at least
be $7.25 per hour, which is way below the numbers of those in the top 10. Those
who receive tips only get paid $2.13 per hour, though with the warning that if the
tips do not get the worker’s salary to $7.25, the employer is required to fill in the

Wyoming, Georgia and Arkansas have state laws that mandate lower minimum
starting wages than the federal rate. Most of the states follow the federal rate.
Oregon and Washington have the highest minimum wage rates, with Oregon
mandating $8.95 per hour that adjusts with inflation, while Washington requires a
minimum of $9.19 per hour. Those who are 14 and 15 years old, however, may be
paid a starting salary of as low as $7.68 per hour.

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