Average Monthly Salary for 72 Countries in the World


Recently, United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO) published the average monthly salary or wage for the whole world & the average for 72 countries. For the whole world, the average is USD1,480 per month.

The figures are published for the first time. It’s a rough figure based on data from 72 countries, omitting some of the world’s poorest nations. In addition, all figures are adjusted to reflect variations in the cost of living from one country to another.

To make comparisons in living standards across countries, economists use specially adjusted exchange rates. The figures in this calculation are given in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) dollars. One PPP dollar is equal to 1 US dollar spent in the US. But a US dollar goes further in some countries than in others.

The limitations of the data are.

  • The data (for 2009) covers 72 countries, and misses out some big ones, Nigeria, for example.
  • Only wage earners are counted – not the self-employed or people on benefits.
  • In some countries, the data is incomplete – in South Africa, for example; it leaves out public sector workers and agricultural workers, while in Uganda, it covers only the manufacturing sector.
  • To see gross versus net salaries in any country you need to use a local salary calculator like this one from Industry Super Australia.

The table below is the rank of average monthly salary or wage in the world. Malaysia was at number 45 out of 72 countries with average monthly salary of USD961 per month.

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Malaysia Labour Force & Unemployment Rate


From 1982 until 2011, Unemployment Rate for Malaysia had an averaged of 4.04 percent, reaching an historical high of 7.40 percent in 1986 and a record low of 2.50 percent in 1996 & 1997. Since 1998, unemployment rate ranging between 2 to 3 percent & stay below average.

The labour force is defined as the number of people employed plus the number unemployed but seeking work. The nonlabour force includes those who are not looking for work, those who are institutionalised and those serving in the military.

The table below shows number of labour forces, unemployment rate & labour participation rate for Malaysia since 1982.

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