Wages in the Canary Islands are still the second lowest in Spain

Average wages in the Canary Islands reach 22,466 euros; the hotel and catering industry maintains the lowest salaries.

Despite a 3.9% raise in wages in 2021 to 22,466.2 euros, the Canary Islands remain at the bottom of the salary scale in Spain, only ahead of Extremadura. This is according to the ‘Survey of Salary Structure 2021’ released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Tuesday.

In terms of gender, men earned an average of 23,619.76 euros, marking a 4.1% increase from the previous year. On the other hand, women saw a 3.5% rise in their earnings, bringing their average wage to 21,178.57 euros.

In Spain, nearly one in five workers (17.5%) earned no more than the minimum interprofessional wage (SMI), set at 13,370 euros per annum in 2021. Furthermore, 46.8% earned between one and two times the SMI. Consequently, two-thirds of all workers made less than 1,910 euros per month last year.

The most common gross wage in Spain for the year was 18,502.5 euros, which was earned by 563,384 wage earners. The second most common wage, earned by 560,327 workers, was 16,487.2 euros per year.

The most frequent wage in 2021 was 22.3 euros more than in 2020, but still 7,394 euros less than the average gross annual wage. The average wage in 2021 was 25,896.8 euros, up 2.9% from the previous year, marking the highest increase since at least 2008 and the eighth straight year of wage increases.

INE explains the difference between the average wage and the most common wage by pointing out that a small number of workers with exceptionally high wages significantly influence the average wage. Hence, there are a higher number of workers with lower wages.

By dividing the workers into higher and lower wage groups, INE calculates the median wage, which in 2021 was €21,638.69, 3.4% higher than in 2020.

The median gross annual wage for men was €28,388.6 in 2021, up 2.7% from 2020. For women, it was €23,175.9, an increase of 3.2%. Despite this higher rate of increase, women’s average annual salary was 81.6% of men’s, a slight improvement from 81.3% in 2020. This wage gap narrows when comparing similar jobs.

In 2021, the average gross hourly wage for men increased by 2.3% to 17.30 euros, while for women it increased by 2.6% to 15.61 euros. According to the European definition, the gender pay gap in 2021 was 9.8%. A quarter of women (25%) earned an annual salary equal to or less than the SMI in 2021, compared to 10.7% of men. INE emphasises that this disparity is due in part to a higher percentage of women working part-time.

Additionally, 3.9% of men earned a salary at least five times higher than the minimum wage in 2021, compared to 2.2% of women. Also, 16.7% of workers earned an hourly wage that was less than two-thirds of the median wage. Among these, almost two-thirds were women.


The survey indicates that workers on temporary contracts saw their earnings rise to an average of €19,842.69 annually in 2021, a 3.2% increase from 2020. However, this is significantly lower than the average earnings of €27,228.8 for workers on permanent contracts, which itself rose by 2.3%. Therefore, those on fixed-term contracts earned 27.1% less on average annually compared to those on permanent contracts.

Men on permanent contracts earned hourly wages of 17.09 euros, 9% above the average, while women on the same contracts earned 3.7% less than the average.

Temporary contract workers earned an hourly wage of 13.77 euros, less than the average hourly wage across all workers and genders. Women in temporary roles saw wages 14.8% lower than the average, while men experienced an 18.6% deficit. Interestingly, women’s hourly wage in temporary contracts was 4.6% higher than that of men.

Regarding workday types, full-time workers earned an average annual salary of 29,657.8 euros, a 2.7% increase from 2020, while part-time workers’ average salary rose by 3.5% to 12,049 euros.

INE emphasises that it’s more pertinent to analyse hourly wages since full-time wages reflect more working hours than part-time ones. Accordingly, full-time workers’ hourly wage was 17.35 euros in 2021, a 2.8% increase, while part-time workers earned 11.59 euros per hour, unchanged from 2020.

The gender wage gap lessens when comparing hourly earnings. The average annual salary for women was 81.6% of men’s salary, but this figure increases to 90.2% when considering hourly wages.

From 2020 to 2021, women’s full-time hourly wages increased by 2.9% to €16.85, while men saw a 2.7% increase to €17.71. Among part-time workers, men experienced a decrease of 3.1% to 12.72 euros, but women saw an increase of 1.5% to 11.08 euros.


In 2021, the sector with the highest average annual salary was the provision of electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning services, with an average income of 52,985.8 euros. This is more than double the national average. It was followed by the finance and insurance sector (46,122.2 euros), information and communication (36,630.4 euros annually), extraction industries (34,866.3 euros), and public administration (34,010 euros).

Conversely, the lowest average salaries were found in the hospitality and catering sector (14,632.8 euros annually), administrative and support services (18,118.6 euros), and other services (18,220.7 euros).

Salary growth was seen across all sectors in 2021, with the exception of the energy supply and arts sectors, which saw decreases of 1.5% and 1.4% respectively. The most significant salary increases were found in real estate (up 6.3%), water supply services (up 5.1%), and construction (up 4.5%).

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