Romania is extremely attractive for people looking for a cheap country to live in. While it is in the European Union, it has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe, making it an amazing choice for people who wish to retire here, as well as digital nomads or those who get their income from outside the country.
UPDATE: This article was initially published in Janaury 2017, but it has been rewritten and updated with 2019 numbers in February 2019.
But what about those looking to move to Romania and work here? In today’s article, we’ll cover that aspect by looking at the minimum wage in Romania, as well as the average salary in Romania.
In my opinion, this paints a better and clearer picture of the country as a whole: by knowing the minimum and average salary in a country, you won’t just know where your level of income would place you if you were to live here, but you also what to expect from the jobs market itself. So let’s get it started!
What is the minimum wage in Romania in 2019?
Until the end of 2018, things were pretty simple regarding the minimum wage. Now, things are a bit more complicated because the government has introduced THREE types of minimum salaries, depending on the experience and studies of the individual, but also the field of work.
Therefore, the minimum salary structure in Romania is this:
- We have a general minimum salary of 1,263 RON (which is around 265 Euros or $300). We’re talking about the net salary / take-home salary, so this is actually what an employee brings home after taxes and all contributions (like health insurance and pension contribution) is paid.
- Next, we have an increased minimum salary for those who have completed college AND have 1 year of experience in the field: 1,413 RON (around 300 Euros or $335).
- Finally, we have a much increased salary for those working in construction: 2362 RON (around 500 Euros or 560 USD)
If you’re interested in the gross salary, that is 2,080 RON (so this is before tax) for the first category, 2,350 for the second and 3,000 RON for constructions.
The minimum salary in Romania has increased to this value starting January 1st 2019, following constant (and substantial) increases in the past couple of years. For example, in January 2017 the gross minimum wage was 1,250 RON, then it was increased to 1,450 RON before getting to 1,900 RON in 2018 and then getting to today’s values.
Conclusion: The Take Home minimum wage in Romania depends on your studies, experience and field of work. That is is 1,263 RON for no studies / experience, 1,413 RON for graduates with 1 year experience and 2,362 RON for construction workers.
While the increase is spectacular indeed (a 140% increase in the construction field, for example, compared to 2017), there are many voices who claim that these increases are not made on solid grounds and their effect will be that of destroying the economy as they are not sustainable.
Right now, these voices seem to be right, even though the new salary structure has just become official: prices are rising in Romania, inflation is starting to get out of control, the exchange rates for EUROS and USD are reaching new highs each day and things don’t look good right now.
For example, the take home minimum salary in 2019 equals $300, despite an increase of 100 RON. However, last year, the lower salary was, in USD, 310. So, there you have it: people think that they earn more, but the truth is completely different…
What is the average wage in Romania in 2019?
A funny thing about the average salary in Romania in 2019 is this: even though the minimum wages have seen spectacular increases lately, the average wages didn’t follow the same trend. On the contrary, some people are earning less money in 2019 because of heavy changes in the tax system.
Still, the average salaries have increased a bit compared to previous years, but they are closer to today’s minimum numbers which is pretty strange to look at. Also, the increased numbers don’t manage to get a lot over inflation and increased exchange rates, meaning that the actual purchase power is similar to that of 2018, despite the increase.
Back to actual values, the average take-home salary in Romania in 2019 is around 2,700 RON per month (570 Euros or $645). You can check out the National Institute of statistics for updated monthly values of the average wage in the country.
An interesting thing to note about the average salary in Romania is that it kept growing – slowly but steadily – over the past few years. Compared to 2013, for example, the average wage increased by about 230 Euros. This is a 67% increase so, despite the increasing inflation and general prices, things are still looking pretty good.
Another thing to consider when thinking about average wages is that the numbers are usually bigger in larger cities (Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, Constanta, Timisoara etc) and get closer to the minimum in the smaller cities. In other words, you the potential to earn more in the larger cities but the cost of living there is also higher.
Cost of living
Back in 2014, I wrote an article detailing how you can live in the country on $1,000 per month. I had to update that article in 2019, as things have changed quite a bit since then. The cost of living in Romania is still very low compared to other countries, but you’re starting to get less and less for that amount…
If you want to read a more in-depth look at the cost of living in Romania, you can check out my latest article on this matter.
Best paid jobs in Romania
Finding a job in Romania – especially if you don’t speak the language – could prove difficult to say the least. The bureaucracy and employment systems are old and outdated and plain stupid.
I remember reading an article a while ago about Noble prize winners who would not be allowed to become University teachers in Romania because they would not meet the silly criteria (not that any Noble prize winner wanted to start teaching in Romania…)
However, there are some areas where it’s easier to find jobs in the country and fortunately these are also the best paying jobs in Romania. Think about large corporations and IT and you have a clear picture!
These were the best paying jobs in the country in 2016, with the mention that 2019 data will follow a similar trend (take-home average salary per month):
1. IT: 5,340 RON (1,185 Euros per month)
2. Oil extraction: 4,829 RON (1,070 Euros per month)
3. Heavy industry: 4,450 RON (985 Euros per month)
4. Insurance and private pensions: 4,309 RON (955 Euros per month)
5. Banks: 4,280 RON (950 Euros per month)
Hopefully knowing the minimum and average salary in Romania will paint a clearer picture on the actual cost of living, the job prospects you’d have and how far your money would take you in case you’re living on income from a different country.