Stronger increase in basic monthly wage in Germany than in France in 2012Basic salary compared in France and Germany - 2012

In 2012, the basic monthly wage (SMB) for the business economy (excluding agriculture) increased by 2.1% in nominal terms in year-on-year variation in France, at the same rate as the previous year (+2.2%). By contrast, it accelerated sharply in Germany: +2.8% in annual variation after +2.0% in 2011.

Informations rapides
No 139
Paru le : 18/06/2013

Comparison of the evolution of the basic monthly wage index

In 2012, the basic monthly wage (SMB) for the business economy (excluding agriculture) increased by 2.1% in nominal terms in year-on-year variation in France, at the same rate as the previous year (+2.2%). By contrast, it accelerated sharply in Germany: +2.8% in annual variation after +2.0% in 2011.

In France, despite the rise of the unemployment rate, which limited workers bargaining power, the nominal SMB increased at the same pace than in 2011, as the result of a stronger rise of the minimum wage in 2012. Indeed, the latter increased in annual variation by 3.3% in 2012 after +1.8% in 2011.

In Germany, wage increases are bargained between trade unions and employers for several years. The wage increases that were applied in 2012 resulted from wage agreements negotiated in a better economic situation than those applied in 2011.

Moreover, in France and in Germany bonuses are not taken account in the basic monthly wage. In Germany, to offset the low bonuses paid in 2011, trade unions obtained a higher rise of basic wages in 2012.

Consumer prices rose at the same pace in France and in Germany in 2012. In real terms, the basic monthly wage slightly decreased in France (-0.1% after –0.1% in 2011) but recovered in Germany (+0.7% after –0.4% in 2011).

Tableau 2 – French basic monthly wage

SA – annual variation (%)
French basic monthly wage
2010 2011 2012
Mining and quarrying 1,3 2,0 2,3
Manufacturing 1,8 2,5 2,4
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 1,1 1,3 2,1
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 2,0 2,1 2,2
Construction 1,8 2,1 2,0
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 1,6 2,1 2,2
Transportation and storage 1,8 2,1 1,9
Accommodation and food service activities 1,9 2,5 2,4
Information and communication 2,0 2,0 2,0
Financial and insurance activities 2,0 2,2 2,0
Real estate activities 2,1 2,2 2,1
Professional, scientific and technical activities 1,7 2,3 2,1
Administrative and support service activities 1,7 2,3 2,1
TOTAL 1,8 2,2 2,1
Harmonized consumer prices 1,7 2,3 2,2
TOTAL deflated 0,1 -0,1 -0,1
  • Sources: France: Acemo, Dares and harmonized consumer prices, Insee

Tableau 3 – German basic monthly wage

SA – annual variation (%)
German basic monthly wage
2010 2011 2012
Mining and quarrying 1,8 2,4 2,1
Manufacturing 1,8 2,2 3,2
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 2,3 2,4 2,5
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 1,8 1,1 3,2
Construction 2,4 2,0 2,4
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 1,7 2,3 2,6
Transportation and storage 2,1 1,2 3,0
Accommodation and food service activities 1,7 1,9 1,8
Information and communication 2,5 1,7 2,2
Financial and insurance activities 1,4 1,5 1,8
Real estate activities 1,4 3,0 1,5
Professional, scientific and technical activities 1,5 1,7 3,1
Administrative and support service activities 2,5 3,4 2,1
TOTAL 1,8 2,0 2,8
Harmonized consumer prices 1,2 2,5 2,1
TOTAL deflated 0,6 -0,4 0,7
  • Sources: Germany: Destatis

Analysis by sector

In France

In manufacturing, basic wages increased by 2.4% in nominal terms, at the same rate as in 2011 (+2,5%), with small disparities between sectors. The nominal SMB slightly slowed down in chemical industry (+2.3% after +2.7%) and increased at the same rate as in 2011 in metallurgy (+2.6%). The sector of manufacture of coke and refined petroleum is the only one where the increase in basic wages was greater: +2.9%.

The sector of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply is the only one where basic wages sped up significantly in 2012, after three years of moderate increase. They increased by 2.1% in 2012 after +1.3% in 2011.

Basic wages in construction have continued to rise at the same rate as the previous year (+2.0% in current euros in 2012 after +2.1% in 2011).

Similarly, basic wages in accommodation and food service activities increased at the same rate as the previous year (+2.4% in current euros in 2012 after +2.5% in 2011). As in 2011, they increased more strongly in accommodation (+2.7%) than in food service (+2.2%).

In Germany

Basic wages accelerated significantly in manufacturing. In 2012, they increased by 3.2% after +2.2% in 2011. The increase in basic wages was stronger in metallurgy (+3.4%) and in chemical and pharmaceutical industry (+3.2%) where collective wage bargaining resulted in an important rise of basic wages (+4.3% the 1st of May in metallurgy and +4.5% the 1st of July in chemical industry). Conversely, the basic wages increased slightly in printing industry (+0.8%).

The basic monthly wage in the water supply sector accelerated in 2012 (+3.2% after +1.1% in 2011). Wages increased significantly both in public firms (+3.5% the 1st of March 2012) and in the private sector.

In construction, basic wages sped up in 2012 (+2.4% after +2.0% in 2011). As in 2011, they increased more strongly in East Germany (+2.6%) than in West Germany (+2.4%).

After its sharp rise in real estate activities in 2011 (+3.0%), the basic monthly wage slowed down in 2012 (+1.5%). In particular, an important industry-wide wage agreement led to a limited increase of 1.0% from the 1st of January 2012.