The official average salary in Bulgaria has soared 186% over the past 10 years, with the highest growth registered in pre-crisis 2008, the National Statistics Institute (NSI) reported on Friday.
Although a number of companies reduced or froze employee remuneration between 2008 and 2010, while others switched to part-time work, the average wage in the private sector has increased by 27% to BGN 605.
According to labour market analysts, however, the higher remuneration is not a result of a material increase in income but follows employees' efforts to cut costs by laying off unskilled staff with low wages, which in turn means a rise in the average salary.
The increase in wages has neither provided for an improvement of living standards in Bulgaria, as confirmed by statistics data on household budgets, which shows that Bulgarians have been permanently reducing expenses in the past two years in an attempt to offset the effect of their declining incomes, half of which come from salaries.
Despite the large percentage growth in average salary in the past ten years, its value continues to lag behind even the minimum wage in two thirds of European Union countries. Another concern is that fact the bulk of the income is being "eaten" by the high inflation.
According to a recent survey by research outfit Alpha Research, two thirds of Bulgarians define themselves as poor, including 28 per cent of households that boast above-average incomes.
Meanwhile, NSI figures also showed that salaries registered a higher growth than labour productivity between 2000 and 2010, which came in at 136%. In 2010, each Bulgarian worker generated an average BGN 20,115 of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), up from BGN 8,492 ten years earlier. /Source: Dnevnik/