Countries with biggest salaries in Europe: where to move for work?

Several European countries boast high average salaries (over €4,500/month) alongside excellent public transport, healthcare, and work conditions. This magnet for global talent offers a superb quality of life.

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Discover six European countries where average monthly salaries exceed $5,000, not just in top-tier jobs but across the board. These countries attract job seekers with their high standards of living, including great public transport, healthcare, and work conditions. But be aware, that high salaries also mean high living costs. This article will discover, which country pays the highest salary in Europe and explore the link between immigration and salary levels.

From which countries do people come to work in Europe?

Before we unveil the countries with the highest salaries in Europe, let's take a closer look at the dynamics of people coming to Europe for work and explore which countries attract them the most. This examination will provide a valuable context for comparing immigration patterns with salary levels.

In case you are thinking of moving to another city and are looking for the best destination to settle in Europe, we recommend you to take a look at our dedicated article.

Best cities to work in Europe
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Statistics for European work immigration

Europe stands out as a compelling destination for employment, continually drawing in a growing number of individuals. Over the past decade, there has been a consistent upward trend, except for 2020, which witnessed a significant immigration reduction due to the COVID crisis.

900 000
people came to EU for work purposes in 2020
1 320 000
people came to EU for work purposes in 2021
1 250 000
people came to EU for work purposes in 2022
Wokr immigration Europe statistics
Source: Eurostat

Looking at the statistics of Eurostat, fascinating phenomenon emerges from this data, while seeing Germany or France on the list is unsurprising, Poland, with comparatively lower salaries and working conditions, takes the lead. This anomaly can be attributed, in part, to its geographical proximity to non-EU countries like Belarus or Ukraine, influencing higher migration numbers.

Analyzing the statistics on countries with the highest work-related immigration in 2022, the top positions are occupied by
447 225 work permits in 2022
140 034 work permits in 2022
81 795 work permits in 2022
66 791 work permits in 2022

Which countries have the best salaries in Europe?

Now that we've identified the countries with the highest immigration, let's turn our attention to salary trends in Europe, combining this data for a comparative analysis.

Statistics European salaries
Source: self-creation with data from Eurostat and ILO

Upon scrutinizing the graph, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, and the Netherlands emerge as leaders, boasting average salaries exceeding $5000. Interestingly, these countries, despite offering high salaries and elevated living standards, don't stand out for labor immigration. A barrier seems to exist between them and those seeking to immigrate for work in Europe.

Among the top 10 countries with the best salaries in Europe, Germany stands out with the highest immigration levels. Conversely, Poland, the destination with the highest immigration, ranks near the bottom of the salary list.

Top-10 highest-paying countries in Europe

Having uncovered the countries boasting the highest salaries in Europe, let's now delve deeper into the specifics. In the following sections, we'll closely examine the top 10 highest-paying countries on the continent.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

If you're curious about which country pays the highest salary in Europe, look no further than Luxembourg. Despite being one of the world's smallest nations, Luxembourg takes the lead with an impressive average monthly salary of 7418 US dollars.

The financial and banking sectors heavily influence Luxembourg's appealing salary structures, employing highly educated, experienced, and in-demand professionals. A remarkable 70.82% of Luxembourg's population consists of foreigners, contributing to its cosmopolitan environment.

Renowned not only for its high salaries but also for its exceptional quality of life, Luxembourg stands as one of the premier European countries to work in. According to Expat Insider 2023, InterNations' annual report, Luxembourg ranks 19th out of 53 countries as an excellent place to live. Impressively, it secures the ninth spot among the top 10 countries with the best quality of life.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

Switzerland secures the second spot on our list with an average salary of 6,491 US dollars. The country's robust salaries can be attributed to its thriving banking and financial services sector, hosting international giants like Nestlé, Zurich Insurance Group, Siemens, and Carlsberg.

Another tax heaven in Europe?

Adding to its allure, Switzerland boasts significantly lower taxes than the rest of the EU and EEA, ranging from 20% to 35% for the income bracket of 150,000 to 250,000 Swiss francs. Consistently ranked as one of the world's most stable and secure countries, Switzerland also excels in terms of quality of life and healthcare standards.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

Securing the third position on our list is Denmark, with an average monthly salary of 5,988 Us dollars. This Scandinavian nation also boasts the world's lowest income inequality, though it comes at the expense of some of the highest taxes.

Denmark's economy is both diversified and highly industrialized, with growth seen in sectors such as
Renewable energy
Informational technology

What sets Denmark apart is its robust and well-established collective bargaining system. Through collaborative negotiations between unions and business associations, wages and working conditions are determined, ensuring fair and decent compensation for workers. This system also actively promotes gender equality in the workplace, basing salary scales on qualifications rather than gender.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

Securing the fourth spot on our list, Belgium boasts an average monthly salary of 5,705 US dollars. Beyond its impressive salaries, Belgium offers one of the highest standards of living and education. Notably, the highest average salaries are found in the country's capital, Brussels, the de facto capital of Europe and home to several significant EU institutions.

Cost of living

It's crucial also to consider the cost of living in Belgium, where the minimum wage, currently at 1994.18 euros, doubles the average rental price, emphasizing the financial advantages for workers in this European hub.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

Ranking fifth on our list, Norway boasts an average monthly salary of 5,528 US dollars. Not only does Norway hold the eighth-highest available per capita income globally, but it also provides one of the highest standards of living.

Well-educated population
The Kingdom of Norway takes pride in its highly educated populace, with a significant majority pursuing university studies lasting a minimum of three to five years, contributing to higher earning potentials.
Affordable universities
Remarkably, higher education in Norway is nearly entirely free, ensuring accessibility irrespective of one's economic standing.
Equality and balanced tax system
With relatively low wage inequality, Norway employs a well-thought-out progressive tax system that minimizes income disparities. The country's egalitarian work culture further facilitates workers in negotiating salaries and benefits, creating an environment of greater equality.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

The Netherlands, the final entry on our list with monthly average salaries exceeding 5000 dollars at 5147 dollars, offers a robust entrepreneurial spirit and accessible job opportunities. Living in this beautiful country comes with an excellent quality of life, accompanied by a respectful and well-educated populace. Renowned for its cultured and organized environment, the Netherlands stands out as one of the world's most eco-friendly nations, fostering an exemplary civic culture.

Do not want to learn Dutch?

With over 90% of the population proficient in English, expatriates find it easy to tap into the country's high-income potential.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

If you're not afraid of the cold, Finland emerges as an excellent choice for those seeking high salaries, offering an average monthly income of 4,865 dollars. While the earnings are substantial, so are the expenses, with housing rent being the most significant for Finns.

up to 1,300 euros
costs housing rent in Finland
4,470 euros
is an average monthly income

Finland's education system stands out, providing free and high-quality preschool, and basic, and secondary education. A significant portion of the population pursues university studies, enhancing citizens' employment prospects.

Happy people

Beyond financial considerations, Finland shines in happiness, ranking as the world's happiest nation according to World of Statistics. Additionally, it secures the second spot as the least corrupt country, just behind Denmark.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

With an average monthly salary of 4,647 dollars, Germany stands as the fourth-largest economy globally and the largest in Europe. Often referred to as the powerhouse of Europe, Germany's diverse industries and opportunities across sectors make it the second-largest recipient of international immigration in Europe and the third in terms of labor-related immigration, following Poland and Spain.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

Approaching the end of our list, Ireland offers an average monthly salary of 4,619 US dollars. Typically, a good salary in Ireland starts at 45,000 to 50,000 euros a year, especially in the capital, Dublin.

Ireland's appeal is heightened by major corporations like Facebook, Microsoft, Airbnb, Indeed, Dell, Apple, and even Google establishing operations, creating numerous job opportunities. Recent studies indicate that over 70% of Irish companies plan to offer salary increases this year, with some witnessing up to an 11% rise in 2023. Additionally, Ireland enjoys one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe.


high salaries countries in Europe where to work in EU
Source: Pixabay

In the final spot on our list, Austria offers an average monthly salary of 4,482 US dollars. To secure this position, Austria consistently strives to maintain purchasing power by steadily increasing salary levels in recent years. Notably, project managers command the highest average salaries.

Internationally recognized as a peaceful and environmentally friendly destination, Austria boasts an average life expectancy of 81 years and one of the most stable economies. However, before packing your bags for this fantastic country, consider the cost of living and taxation, as Austria ranks among the nations with the highest tax rates globally.

What papers do you need to work in the EU's highest-paying countries?

If the impressive salaries in these countries have left you in awe and you're contemplating working there, we can provide you with an initial overview of how to proceed.

If you're a resident or a European national, you have the privilege of living and working in any European country without much hassle. However, if you're not, navigating the paperwork becomes crucial.

Immigration to Europe

The requirements and documents needed vary significantly based on the country and the type of employment. Distinct criteria apply for salaried workers, independent contractors, and highly skilled professionals. Visit the European Union's immigration page., where you can easily access all the information you need.

If you are interested in Luxembourg and you want more information about visas and work permits, we recommend you check out our related articles.

Visa for Indian nationals to Luxembourg
Luxembourg work visa guide
Grounds for entry into Luxembourg and documents
All types of visa to Luxembourg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which European country has the highest average salary?

How does immigration relate to salary levels in Europe?

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