Top Dutch earners take 6 times higher salaries than average workers

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The top earners at the 1,000 largest companies in the Netherlands on average earn six times more than an average worker, according to calculations done by Statistics Netherlands after looking at the five top earners per company. 

In 2014 the average salary of the top earners was 234 thousand euros. The average salary of all employees in the Netherlands amounted to 33 thousand euros. When looking at full-time employees alone, the average salary was 48 thousand euros.

The wage gap was largest in the financial service industry, where the top earners earned 11.7 times as much as ordinary workers. In 88 at of the 1,000 companies the top earned more than ten times as much as the average worker. These companies are mainly financial institutions and tech companies, but there are also a number of employment agencies, supermarkets and department stores. According to Statistics Netherlands, in some of these companies the wage differences are not only attributable to the top earning high salaries, but also to ordinary workers earning low salaries, for example when the company employs many young workers.

The pay gap is the smallest in education, healthcare and public administration. The public and semi-public sectors are subject to the standardized top incomes law, which set limits on the salary amounts. Though there are a number of government agencies in the security regions with a considerable wage gap.

Between 2010 and 2014 the wage gap gradually grew in the thousand biggest companies. The average annual salary of the 5 thousand top earners increased by 14 percent in this period, resulting in the wage cap increasing from 5.5 percent in 2010 to 5.8 percent in 2014. But when looking at the 100 largest companies, the wage cap decreased from 10.6 in 2010 to 8.7 in 2014. The annual salary for the 500 top earners declined by 18 percent, while the average collectively agreed upon wage increased by 5 percent in this period.