International Salary Comparison

Posted on April 17, 2012 by

Now that the latest figures have been published by a variety of governments, we can compare average salaries in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Getting a single comparable figure from country to country is not easy – different countries like to calculate and publish salary data in different ways.

The one number that was reported by every country was the average weekly salary: this includes overtime and includes both full- and part-time workers.

These numbers are as follows, firstly written in the native currencies:

Average Weekly Salaries Compared

Country Currency Average Weekly
Australia AUD$ 1033
Canada CAD$ 888
Germany Euro 701
New Zealand NZD$ 800
UK GBP£ 487
USA US$ 916

The next table shows these salaries converted at today’s exchange rate to British Pounds and American Dollars. The countries are ranked from highest to lowest average salary.

Average Weekly Salaries – In British Pounds and US Dollars

Ranking Country Average Weekly
Salary in US$
Average Weekly
Salary in GBP£
1 Australia 1072 672
2 Germany 920 577
3 USA 916 574
3 Canada 895 561
4 UK 777 487
5 New Zealand 654 411

Workers in Australia currently enjoy the highest wages of the countries surveyed.

More salary data were available from the statistical departments of each of the countries. The next most popularly reported numbers were average weekly salaries for full-time workers, including overtime. Since part-time workers are excluded, these salaries are higher than the ones reported above.

Average Salaries Compared for Full-Time Workers – In British Pounds and US Dollars

Ranking Country Average Weekly
Salary in US$
Average Weekly
Salary in GBP£
1 Australia 1443 905
2 Germany 1108 694
3 UK 961 603
5 New Zealand 834 523

A Few Conclusions

• Average full-time wages in Australia are 50% higher than in the UK.

• Australian full-time wages are 73% higher than New Zealand full-time wages. Given that New Zealand’s citizens have the right to live and work in Australia (and vice versa) it seems astonishing that there is anyone left in New Zealand at all.

• Despite the recent rise of Canada’s economy relative to the USA, American workers still earn slightly more on average than their northern neighbours.

• Exchange rates have a powerful effect on this sort of comparison. For example, Australia’s dollar is particularly strong at the moment. If it were to weaken, Australia’s salaries relative to other countries would weaken with it.


1. The averages reported are all statistical means, not medians.

2. Data Sources:

• Australia: Data for November 2011 quarter, published February 2012 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

• Canada: Data for December 2011, published February 2012 by Statistics Canada.

• Germany: Data for 2011, published February 2012 by Destatis Statistische Bundesamt.

• NZ: Data for December 2011 Quarter, published February 2012 by Statistics New Zealand.

• UK: Data for 2011, published March 2012 by the UK Office for National Statistics.

• USA Data for 2011, published March 2012 by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Comments (2)


  1. Jimmy from Manchester says:

    When does the next flight leave for Oz?

  2. Cornish Pastyman says:

    Very useful info this. I hadn’t realised that the UK was falling so far behind in the wages stakes.