These European Countries Offer Higher Salaries than in the US

By Aoibhinn Mc Bride

There’s a long-held assumption that those working in the Land of the Free, particularly in big cities such as New York or San Francisco, earn more than their European counterparts, particularly in the tech sector.

Take prompt engineers as the perfect example. In the last year, those with the skills and ability to train AI models have average salaries of around $300,000.

Those in Europe are making significantly less, ranging from €40,000 in Germany and the Netherlands to €100,000 in Switzerland.

However, with the average US salary now standing at $59,228 (over €54,000), in more than a dozen European countries, including Switzerland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and France, are surpassing their American counterparts when it comes to take-home pay.

According to the most recent figures provided by Eurostat, wages across the EU and euro areas, increased by 4 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

1. Switzerland

Ever wondered where workers earn the most in Europe?
Look no further than Switzerland! Data reveals a staggering average annual wage of €106,839.33, placing it firmly at the top of the pay pyramid. But what’s the secret sauce behind these sky-high salaries?

Hold onto your hats, tax lovers! Switzerland boasts lower taxes than the rest of Europe. The average worker enjoys a significantly higher take-home pay due to an 18.6% income tax rate compared to the hefty OECD average of 24.9%. Imagine keeping 81% of your hard-earned cash – that’s 6% more than the OECD norm! And for families with children, the picture gets even rosier. 

Thanks to generous child benefits and tax breaks, married workers with two kids can pay as little as 6% in taxes, a fraction of the 14% OECD average. 

But wait, there’s more! Switzerland’s booming financial sector, overflowing with over $2 billion in deposits, fuels a high demand for skilled professionals. This translates into salaries well over €100,000 for the average worker in this thriving industry. So, if you’re a skilled finance whiz, Switzerland might just be your El Dorado!

2. Iceland

Iceland’s Bounce Back: From Financial Crisis to High Salaries
The 2008 financial crisis hit Iceland hard, with major banks collapsing and unemployment skyrocketing. But Iceland’s story doesn’t end there. The country has undergone a remarkable turnaround, and today, Icelandic workers boast some of the highest salaries in Europe.

Iceland boasts an impressive average salary of €81,942 (according to Eurostat). This can be attributed to their successful 2019 labour agreements, which ensure salaries keep pace with inflation. 

3. Luxembourg

Forget about stagnant salaries! In Luxembourg, the idea of a livable wage isn’t a dream, it’s practically a law. Their minimum social wage gets a checkup every two years, ensuring wages keep pace with the country’s famously high cost of living. But hold on, that’s not the whole story.

Luxembourg boasts an average annual salary of €79,903 – and it’s not just because of regular reviews. The thriving financial sector plays a big role too. Here, skilled professionals are handsomely rewarded for their expertise, further pushing the national average upwards. So, if you’re looking for a place where your hard work is valued and your wallet stays comfortably full, Luxembourg might just be your financial fairy godmother.


The Nordics consistently rank high on the happiness scale, and those living in Norway in particular can be extra gleeful in the knowledge that they earn more money on average than their Scandinavian neighbour, as well as those in the US.

Norway isn’t just leading the pack on gender equality in the workplace, it’s breaking down barriers altogether! They were the world’s first to implement a groundbreaking 60/40 gender quota for company boards, ensuring women have a powerful seat at the table.

Sure, taxes might be a bit higher than the OECD average (28% compared to 25%), but guess what? The average salary is pretty amazing too – a whopping €74,506 annually. This financial equality is likely due to Norway’s focus on education and a culture that values all types of work. Even those in unskilled jobs earn salaries much closer to professionals than in many other countries

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