Mean total earnings for full-time employees were 721 thousand ISK in the year 2018. The median was 632 thousand ISK and thus half of employees received total earnings below that amount. The difference between the mean and the median is mainly because collective agreements set minimum wage rates but no maximum wages. The most frequent total earnings were between 550 and 600 thousand ISK with every tenth full-time employee receiving total earnings in that interval.
Total monthly earnings in the private sector were 729 thousand ISK on average in 2018 for full-time employees. Total earnings in the central government were 818 thousand ISK and 593 thousand ISK in the local government. The distribution of earnings by sector was different as 70% of employees in the local government had total earnings below 650 thousand ISK. The same applied to 35% of employees in the central government and 55% of employees in the private sector. About 5.5% of employees in the private sector and central government had total earnings over 1,400 thousand ISK, but insignificant number of employees in the local government.
Notes: Sectors are based on the ESA 2010 classification of National Accounts. The public sector only consists of the General Government (S.13). Others belong to the private sector.
Total earnings lowest in Accommodation and food services
Data on earnings in Accommodation and food services are available for the first time for the year 2018. Total monthly earnings in the economy activity were 504 thousand ISK and the median was 495 thousand ISK. The distribution of total earnings is different from the distribution of basic earnings as shift premium is common and overtime payments are relatively frequent. About 60% of the employees received basic earnings below 400 thousand ISK and 25% had total earnings below that amount. Paid monthly hours were183.6 monthly, which is close to the average of 184.5 hours.
Note: Basic earnings are earnings without any supplements. Regular earnings are basic earnings with regular supplements for example shift premium. Total regular earnings include overtime payments and total earnings are the total remuneration per month including various irregular payments and bonuses.
Looking at the distribution of total earnings in the five biggest economic activities, regarding the number of employed, differences are notable. About 85% of full-time employees in Accommodation and food services received total earnings below 600 thousand ISK, while the same applied for about half of employees in Manufacturing, Wholesale and retail trade and Education. About 40% of employees in Human health and social work received total earnings below 600 thousand ISK and just under 20% in that economic activity had total earnings above one million ISK.
The difference in earnings and distribution of earnings are often due to the different occupations and working arrangement between economic activities. Among the five biggest economic activities, there is variation in the proportional share of occupational groups. For example, there are almost no professionals in the economic activity of Accommodation and food services, and about 6% belong to that occupational group in Manufacturing and Wholesale and retail trade. In Education about 65% are professionals, teachers at all school levels being the biggest occupations, and 42% in Human health and social work, nurses and medical doctors being the most frequent professionals. The share of managers are similar in all these economic activities, 9-14%.
About the dataset
A set of comprehensive data series on earnings for 2014-2018 has been published by occupational groups, sectors and economic activities. Previously published data for 2014-2017 have been revised. Data is provisional.
Results are based on the Icelandic Survey on Wages, Earnings and Labour Costs, which cover about 90 thousand employees. The survey is a stratified sample survey including legal units with 10 or more employees. The survey covers about 85% of the Icelandic labour market. Further information on definitions and methods is available on Statistics Iceland’s web.
Earnings by sector and occupational group and sex 2014-2018
Earnings by economic activity, occupational group and sex 2014-2018
Distribution of earnings for full-time employees by sector, occupational group and sex 2014-2018
Distribution of earnings for full-time employees by economic activity, occupational group and sex 2014-2018