Mean total earnings for full-time employees were 667 thousand ISK in the year 2016. The median was 583 thousand ISK and thus half of employees received total earnings below that amount. The difference between the mean and the median can mainly be explained by the fact that collective agreements set minimum wage rates but no maximum wages. Every fourth employee had total earnings below 470 thousand ISK and every tenth employee received total earnings below 381 thousand ISK for full-time employment. One fourth of employees had total earnings above 761 thousand ISK and about 10% of employees in the Icelandic labour market had more than a million ISK in monthly total earnings in 2016. The picture below shows the distribution of total earnings.
Notes: Monthly Earnings. Central – employees within the central government. Local – employees within the local government. Private – employees in the private sector.
Full-time employees in the private sector had monthly total earnings of 697 thousand ISK on average in 2016. Employees within the central government had 732 thousand ISK on average and employees within the local government 528 thousand ISK. The distribution of total earnings is different between sectors and is the least within the local government. As can be seen in the table below, little less than 80% of those had total earnings less than 600 thousand ISK but the same applied to less than 40% of employees within the central government and less than 50% of employees in the private sector.
|Precentage of full-time employees in intervals of earnings 2016|
|< 400 thousand||13%||11%||8%||21%|
Notes: Monthly earnings. Central – employees within the central government. Local – employees within the local government. Private – employees in the private sector.
Total earnings of managers were twice the total earnings of general workers
In the year 2016, total earnings by occupational group ranged from 479 thousand ISK for service workers to 1,079 thousand ISK for managers. Clerks had 497 thousand ISK on average, general workers 520 thousand ISK, technicians 699 thousand ISK, specialists 707 thousand ISK, and craft workers 715 thousand ISK.
The distribution of earnings between occupational groups was different. The distribution was rather narrow within the group of clerks with 80% receiving total earnings between 342 thousand ISK and 662 thousand ISK. Managers had the widest distribution, 80% of employees within that group had total earnings between 606 thousand ISK and 1,776 thousand ISK. This difference can be explained by the fact that the occupational group includes both chief executives and department managers.
Notes: The rectangle is defined by the lower and upper quartile and divided by the median. The bars are defined by the 1st and 9th decile. Managers (1), specialists (2), technicians (3), clerks (4), service workers (5), craft workers (Craft), general workers (General).
Highest total earnings in Electricity and steam supply and Financial activities
Employees in Electricity and steam supply had the highest total earnings in 2016 or 905 thousand ISK. Next were employees in Financial and insurance activities, 893 thousand ISK. Lowest total earnings were in Education, 540 thousand ISK. The distribution of total earnings was greatest within Financial and insurance activities, but the least in Education.
Notes: The rectangle is defined by the lower and upper quartile and divided by the median. The bars are defined by the 1st and 9th decile. Manufacturing (C), Electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (D), Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (E), Construction (F), Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles (G), Transportation and storage (G), Information and communication (J), Financial and insurance activities (K), Public administration and defence; compulsory social security (O), Education (P), Human health and social work activities (Q).
Total earnings of occupational groups can be very different between economic activities. Average total earnings of specialists, clerks and skilled craft workers were highest in Water and steam supply while the total earnings of managers were highest in Financial and insurance activities. Technicians’ total earnings were highest in Transportation and storage and total earnings of service and general workers where highest in Public administration. Clerks’ total earnings were lowest in Human health and social activities, craft workers’ in Information and communication, but the total earnings of all other occupational groups were lowest within Education.
When comparing earnings between economic activities different combination of occupations has to be taken into account. As an example engineers are a major group of specialists in Electricity and steam supply whereas primary school teachers are the biggest group of specialists within Education.
Directors, judges, doctors and brokers have the highest total earnings
Directors received the highest average monthly total earnings, or 1,620 thousand ISK. Judges had an average total monthly earning of 1,442 thousand ISK, medical doctors had 1,428 thousand ISK and finance dealers and brokers had 1,426 thousand ISK on average. Lowest total earnings were among child-care workers that had average monthly earnings of 340 thousand ISK in 2016 and library and related clerks with 359 thousand ISK.
|Earnings by occupation 2016|
|Basic earnings||Total earnings||Hours paid|
|2221 Medical doctors||835||1,428||221.5|
|2320 Secondary shool teachers||553||714||195.3|
|2332 Pre-primary school teachers||462||484||172.3|
|3144 Air traffic controllers||643||1,279||194.3|
|3411 Finance dealers and brokers||1,249||1,426||174.0|
|414 Library and related clerks||319||359||175.0|
|5131 Child-care workers||310||340||174.7|
|5162 Police officers||373||735||208.4|
|8324 Truck and lorry drivers||305||606||223.9|
|9313 Building labourers||352||540||203.1|
The composition of total earnings varies between occupations. The difference between basic earnings and total earnings is small within the occupations of pre-primary school teachers and child-care workers compared with the occupations of air traffic controllers and medical doctors, as can be seen in the table above. Basic earnings are payments for daytime work without any overtime payments and other kind of irregular payments that are included in total earnings.
The number of hours paid shows whether overtime payments are common in an occupation. In 2016 mean hours paid for full-time employees were 184.7. Truck and lorry drivers had the highest paid hours, 223.9 and medical doctors had 221.5 hours paid.
All data on earnings by occupation and sex for about 200 occupations can be found here.
About the dataset
A set of comprehensive data series on earnings for 2014-2016 has been published. Data are also broken down by occupational groups and different sectors or economic activities. In addition data on about 200 occupations are published.
Results are based on the Icelandic Survey on Wages, Earnings and Labour Cost and cover about 70 thousand employees. The survey is a stratified sample survey including legal units with 10 or more employees and data are weighted according to the survey design. The survey covers about 80% of the Icelandic labour market even though certain economic activities are missing. In the economic activity of Information and communication information about smaller companies and IT companies are missing. In addition, data in Public administration, Education and Human health and social work activities are only based on employees within the public sector. Results are preliminary. Further information on definitions and methods is available on Statistics Iceland website.
Earnings for the private and the public sector by occupational group and sex
Distribution of earnings for full-time employees in the private and the public sector by occupational group
Earnings by economic activity, occupational group and sex
Distribution of earnings for full-time employees by economic activity, occupational group and sex
Earnings for full-time employees by occupation and sex