How much, on average, does a worker in Malaga province earn? That isn't actually an easy question to answer. Are we talking about how much employees actually take home? Or how much they would earn if they worked full-time for all 12 months of the year?
The figure can be very different because in Malaga and the Costa de Sol, due to seasonal tourism and job insecurity, 47 per cent of workers never manage to work all year round. In fact, on average, only 71 per cent of their time is spent working full-time. This is because, "they have short periods of work, interruptions to contracts, and seasonal or part-time work," says an analysis of salaries in Malaga province in 2019, which is part of a study carried by trade union Comisiones Obreras.
This under-employment is one of the main causes of in-work poverty. In other words, the problem is not so much that salaries are low, but that many people are unable to work long enough during the year to earn a decent income.
The average gross annual salary in Malaga province in 2019 was 16,235 euros. That is 1,020 euros more than the Andalusian average (15,215), but 3,337 euros less (17%) than the national average of 19,572. In comparison with other provinces in Andalucía, Malaga is in second place behind Seville (16,271 euros).
And if we were to look at what they would have earned if they had worked full time all year? In that case, the average in Malaga in 2019 would have been 22,799 euros a year. The difference from the national average (25,284 euros) is lower than that affecting gross salaries, which indicates that part of the salary gap between Malaga and some other regions of Spain is due to the high rates of temporary and part-time work which affect the labour market.
The effective working time is one of the components that explains the wage gap suffered by women, young people and foreign workers, the "most castigated" groups in the Malaga labour market, according to the report.
Starting with the gender gap, the average gross salary for men (17,854 euros) is 3,420 euros a year higher than that of women (14,434), a difference of 23.7 per cent. If instead of gross salaries we look at the pay for time worked, the gap reduces to 9.4 per cent. This difference can be put down to the fact there are fewer women in management posts and more in jobs and sectors with lower salaries. Nor does the union rule out the existence of "business practices in which women's salaries are lower than those of men in equal professional conditions".
No less striking is the wage gap affecting young people. Under-30s have a gross annual salary of just 9,006 euros, barely 55 per cent of the average salary in the province. A good part of this difference is because they work fewer days in a year. The average for the province is 71.2% of time actually worked, but for young people that drops to 47.9 per cent. Otherwise, the average salary of those under 30 years of age would be 18,813 euros, which is 82.5 per cent of the provincial average salary.
Something similar occurs with immigrants: the average salary for Spanish employees (16,914 euros) is 5,497 euros a year higher than that of foreign workers. This is partly because Spanish nationals work for more time in the year (73.4%) than foreigners (55.9%). However, in Andalucía, Malaga province has the lowest difference in average salary by nationality.
There are also big differences by sector. The highest average salary is in industry (20,118 euros), followed by services (16,620 euros) and construction (14,471 euros), with agriculture far behind (6,196 euros), once again due to the low percentage of time actually worked.