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Global wage growth on the decline

Thursday 15th Dec 2016 (Latest News, Global)

Wage growth around the world has decelerated since 2012, falling from 2.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent in 2015, its lowest level in four years, according to the ILO’s Global Wage Report 2016-17.  In much of the period following the 2008-2009 financial crisis, global wage growth was propelled by relatively strong wage growth in developing countries and regions.  More recently, however, this trend has slowed or reversed. 

For the first time the report - now in its 5th edition – takes a look at wage distribution within enterprises.  On average, in 22 European countries, inequality within enterprises accounts for 42 per cent of total wage inequality, while the rest is due to inequality between enterprises.  The report found that in European enterprises about 80 per cent of workers are paid less than the average wages of their workplace.  In the one per cent of enterprises with the highest average wages, the bottom one per cent of workers are paid on average 7.10 euros per hour while the top one per cent are paid on average 844 euros per hour. 

Visit the password-protected portal in English, French and Spanish for the report and related materials:

Login: ILO_Embargoed

Password : GlWaRe2016


Production date:                  15 December 2016 for press conference coverage with archive footage b-roll filmed in 2014 and 2016

Audio:                                   Available in international version

Rights:                                  All ILO audio-visual material is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 IGO license, copyright ILO

Video type:                           b-roll

Keywords:                            wages, wage trends, wage inequality, gender pay gap


00:00 – 00:10

Embargo slate


00:10 – 00:24

GVs of press briefing including report cover at Palais des Nations, Geneva


00:24 – 00:44

Sound bite with Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General  (in English) :

So these wage developments in our view are a matter of major concern because they add risks to an already weak and in fact precarious global economy.  First in many countries the risk of deflation is still very real and falling wages could potentially contribute to that.”


00:44 – 01:00

Sound bite with Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General  (in English) :

“Well designed minimum wages that are set at levels that take into account the needs of workers and their families, as well as economic factors, can make a real difference at the lower end of the distribution without significantly harming employment.”


01:00 – 01:18

Sound bite with Deborah Greenfield, ILO Deputy Director-General  (in English) :

“The regulation of executive pay surely has to play an important role here too.  And whether that’s through regulatory framework, or even through self-regulation, this is going to be an important driver of wage equality within firms.”


01:18 – 01:50

Sound bite with Patrick Belser, ILO Senior economist (in English) :

“One important finding I think is the decline in average wages in emerging economies. Emerging economies have been driving global wage growth for the last few years and here we see quite a dramatic decline in wage growth from 6.6 per cent in 2012 to 2.5 per cent in 2015 and I think this is an important finding, because it’s a worrying finding.  It raises the question as to who is going to consume all the goods and services that are produced in the world economy.”


01:50 – 02:18

Sound bite with Patrick Belser, ILO Senior economist (in English) :

“Another important finding is the inequality that we see within enterprises in Europe in particular: we’ve calculated that in the top one per cent of enterprises that pay the best the top one per cent in these enterprises earn about 840 euros per hour while the lowest paid ones earn 7 euros per hour and that’s an enormous inequality.”


02:18 – 02:37

Sound bite with Patrick Belser, ILO Senior economist (in French) :

« Et ce qui nous inquiète aussi beaucoup, c’est la situation de l’évolution des salaires dans les pays en crise, comme le Brésil, la Russie.  Les salaires sont à plat aussi au Mexique, en Ukraine, ils ont chuté de 20 pour cent, et donc nous nous posons la question de savoir qui va consommer les biens et services qui sont produits dans l’économie globale. »



02:37 – 03:08

Sound bite with Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, ILO economist (in Spanish) :

“No todo el mundo que está recibiendo  salaries altos  en las empresas  lo reciben de la misma manera. La brecha salarial entre hombres y mujeres  que tanto se hablado en  general en la populación, es algo que también observamos en aquellas mujeres y hombres que están en altos cargos. Entonces para decirte un número, diremos que las mujeres que son executivas reciben aproximadamente un cincuenta por ciento de salario menos que la de los hombres. Y esto es doble de brecha salarial que en la populación.”


03:08 – 03:12

Woman in head scarf uses RFID device in warehouse (Germany, 2014)

03:12 – 03:15

Woman  tapes up box and packages box in warehouse (Germany, 2014)

03:15 – 03:21

Serbian executive woman signs document at colleagues’ desk (Serbia 2014)

03:21 – 03:25

Magazine editor woman explains layout at printers (Fiji, 2014)

03:25 – 03:27

Female workers at avocado packing house (South Africa, 2014)

03:27 – 03:32

Garment workers in garment factory (Haiti, 2014)

03:32 – 03:36

Supermarket cashier at work (Spain, 2016)

03:36 – 03:40

Workers at auto parts factory (Germany, 2014)



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