Typical worker in Norway earns most in world

The typical worker earns a higher salary in Norway than in any other country in the world, with Norwegian wage earners taking home more than double the median per-capita global income, a Gallup survey of household incomes published on Tuesday has revealed.

Typical worker in Norway earns most in world
A cleaner at an engine plant in Ålesund - Mitie plc
The median income in Norway came out at just under 120,000 kroner per year ($19,300), according to Gallup, well ahead of a typical income of $18,630 in Sweden, the next highest earning country. 
The survey highlighted huge wage disparities across the European Union, with workers in Portugal reporting median incomes of just $5,500, barely more than a quarter of what their counterparts enjoy in Norway. 
Even in relatively 'rich' European Union countries such as France and the United Kingdom the median salaries were $12,445, and $12,339 respectively, well below the Nordic countries. 
By reporting median rather than mean salaries, the Gallup survey  favours countries such as Norway and Sweden, where high national income is combined with relative wage equality. 
Data for household incomes showed an even greater disparity, due to the greater proportion of working women in the Nordic countries, with the average Norwegian household taking in more than 316,520.904 ($51,489), compared to $31,617 in the UK and $31,112 in France.  
Workers in some the world's most powerful economies also receive surprisingly low median wages, with those in China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia receiving median incomes of $1,786, $616, $4,762, and $4,129 respectively. 
Liberia in Africa had the lowest median income, with the typical  worker earning just $118 a year.
Median refers to the exact centre of a range of data, so that half of the respondents earn above it and half earn below it, whereas the mean average divides the combined wages of the country by the population, meaning a handful of extremely high earners can pull up the average substantially. 

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New law could see flight to public sector

The private sector in Norway has begun to react to a new law in Norway aimed at making public-sector salary information available to all.

New law could see flight to public sector
Anne-Kari Bratten of employer association Spekter: "The public sector is in many ways a monopoly"

It is understood the business sector’s age-old battles to staff their companies could suffer a major reverse if Norway’s individual public-sector wages become public knowledge. Those employed or hired by government have seen exponential growth for their salaries since the first wage booms of the 1980s, and Norwegian civil servants among the best-paid in Europe.

The average Norwegian public-sector salary for men in 2010 was 40,300 ($7,000) kroner per month compared with 36,900 in industry and 45,800 in the information and communications technology sector. Job security in the public sector is ranked No. 1 in Norway.

The state’s fully owned and part-owned companies are largely the country’s best salary payers, and a flight of talent from the traditional private sector is feared. According to Norwegian information-technology newspaper Digi, the salaries of some 800,000 Norwegian workers — or about half the country’s workforce — will be available for access-to-information requests when a new law is voted into the records in the coming months.

“It will shock people,” said Anne-Kari Bratten, deputy administrative director of the employer association Spekter.

She doesn’t agree with Norwegian politicians who warn the new transparency law will harm recruitment, although she appeared to mean public-sector recruitment.

“The public sector is in many ways a monopoly,” said Bratten.

The government’s renewal minister, Labour’s Rigmor Assrud, said transparency goals on government spending would be made clearer with access to public-sector salary information. How access would work in practice has not been worked out, Assrud said.

It was Norway’s information authority, the Datatilsynet, which recommended to the Directorate of Management and Internet & Communications Technology that pay slips be classed as public information.