Are the OECD countries paying the teachers fairly?

Tackling education challenges and addressing SDG 4 by ensuring quality education for every child is a multidimensional process. Ensuring fair pay for teachers is an essential part of it. “Compensation and working conditions are important for attracting, developing, and retaining skilled and high-quality teachers and school heads,” says the OECD Education At A Glance 2021 report. This need has intensified, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic: teachers are carrying a new burden of extra workload related to constantly changing teaching modes and keeping students motivated in the hard times.


OECD report analyses teachers’ salaries in OECD countries. The earnings variance is shocking: with the highest average salary of $109,000 (1) in Luxembourg and the lowest one with around $19,000 (1) in the Slovak Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Even though payment increases with years of experience and school level taught, teachers in OECD countries still earn 81-96% of the salaries of tertiary-educated workers on average. Fair payment for teachers is also essential in changes in the labor market. With a displacement of workplaces, priority will continue to be given to key “human” soft skills like problem-solving, and teachers will play a key role in promoting these skills.

  • The numbers provided are for lower secondary level teachers with more than 15 years of experience.


By Elizaveta Rusakova

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