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Average gross wages up 31.7 percent in February

The average gross wage of full-time employees in February was 546,000 forints (EUR 1,470), 31.7 percent higher than the same period a year prior, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said on Tuesday.

The jump in the average wage was largely linked to big salary increases for defence and law enforcement staff as well as minimum wage hikes, the KSH said.

The gross average wage without bonuses or benefits was 445,000 forints, 14.5 percent higher than a year earlier, while net average pay increased by 31.7 percent to 363,100 forints.

The median gross wage was 378,100 forints, 14.6 percent higher than a year earlier.

State secretary for employment policy Sandor Bodo said the outsized wage increase was largely due to growth in the minimum wage, that of the private sector and substantial hikes in the public sector.

He said the steady rise in real wages over the past ten years was a testament to the government’s successful economic policy.

Wages in the health sector began catching up with those in the infocommunications, financial and scientific and professional sectors, while thanks to the personal tax holiday for employees below the age of 25, average net incomes were 23.4 percent higher than at the beginning of 2021, Bodo said in a statement.

Net earnings of an average family with two wages and a single child family grew by 147 percent over the past twelve years and by 158 percent for families with two children, he said.

In light of the higher minimum wage and the tightening of the labour market, double-digit wage growth is also expected this year, the statement said.

Analysts told MTI that even without the effect of the extra payment amouting to six months’ salary for law enforcement officers and soldiers, wages would have grown significantly. Real wages are expected to rise by 5-6 percent this year, they said.

Gabor Regos of the Szazadveg Institute noted that average earnings increased above inflation. The cut in earning-related contributions, the minimum wage hike and the labour shortage also had roles to play, he said, adding that no big changes in wage trends were likely this year, and average real wages were expected to increase, too, notwithstanding high inflation.

Peter Virovacz of ING Bank said today’s data release supported ING’s forecast of wage growth this year of around 15 percent. He said inflationary pressures on the demand side would be significant in the short term, with a knock-on effect on inflation and real growth in wages. ING forecasts an increase of 5 percent in real wages for this year, he added.

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