Drive two trucks full of nitroglycerin through the jungle to some oil wells. This is the offering for some uprooted people living in poverty in a city in South America. The mission is suicidal, the salary abysmal, but the alternative is to suffer in this place indefinitely. The monumental film “The Salary of Fear” shows a far from idyllic face of work and is an example of “how not to fix the salary of my employees”.

Now you as an entrepreneur are the protagonist. Let’s assume a scenario where your business is growing and you need to hire someone…but you don’t know how much they’re charging for that particular position. Here are the keys to solving this salary puzzle.

How much is charged in Spain?
First, let’s analyze the behavior of wages that have been mitigated or directly reduced. The Bank of Spain, in its February 2014 Bulletin, warns that “the wage moderation that began in 2010 may be somewhat more intense than indicated by labor cost statistics”. The 2012 annual salary structure survey prepared by the National Institute for Statistics (INE) calculates an average salary of EUR 22,726, which corresponds to an annual decrease of 0.8%. However, behind this number hides another reality: in Spain there are more workers in the lower part of the salary range than in the upper part, therefore the most common salary is around 15,500 euros.

However, a report by InfoJobs and ESADE on the situation on the labor market indicates that the average salary offered on the job portal was 23,650 euros gross per year in 2013, 0.2% more than in the previous year.

Noelia de Lucas, commercial director of the Hays HR consultancy, speaks of freezing, although she distinguishes between three realities. “Employees who have been with a company for a while will keep their salary or at most enjoy an increase equal to the CPI or something like that. Those who move from one company to another can get a 10% to 15% raise. Finally, those who return to the market after a period of unemployment will have their salary cut from 20% to 30% compared to what they had before being inactive.”

Tell me how and where and I’ll tell you how much you can pay

These are some of the factors that determine salaries, information that will help you to set “appropriate salary compensation, one of the most complex challenges in any organization,” confirms Luis Pérez, director of institutional relations at Randstad.

Geographically. The difference between the parishes is striking. According to INE, the Basque Country and the Autonomous Community of Madrid top the salary list with €26,535 and €26,044 respectively, while Galicia and the Canary Islands close the list with €19,389 and €19,277 respectively.

size. In companies with 1 to 49 employees, the average wage is 18,651 euros; for those aged 50 to 199 it rises to 23,943 euros, for those aged 200 and over to 28,001 euros. Rocío Arias, Manager of Logistics & Purchasing at Michael Page, clarifies that there are no significant differences in positions that require prior knowledge and languages. “On the other hand, recently qualified junior profiles can charge up to 15% less in an SME.”

formative. For unskilled workers in the service sector, the INE estimates an annual profit of 12,819 euros, for skilled workers in industry even 21,798 euros. This gap also identifies InfoJobs with a maximum of 28,263 euros for students and 19,387 euros for professionals with basic studies.

the experience Hays elaborates on these differences in his 2013 Guide to the Labor Market: a receptionist in Madrid, for example, earns an average of €18,000 if she has between two and five years of experience; it reaches up to 23,000 euros when it is between five and ten years old and reaches 27,000 euros when it is more than a decade old.

age Is it also a study? For the INE, the upward trend begins in the 25 to 29 age range (16,244 euros) and reaches its peak in the 55 to 59 year range with 27,166 euros.

company management