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.
But what about those looking to move to Romania to 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. (We’re talking about monthly salary – just to be clear.)
In my opinion, this paints a better and clearer picture of the country as a whole: by knowing the minimum and average salary in Romania, 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.
Even more, the average salary is a good indicator (in my opinion) of the estimated cost of living and how expensive a country is.
If a person earns, on average, 3,000 Euros per month most likely prices in that country are higher than they are in one where the average person earns 500 Euros per month.
Also, this means that if you earn the average salary, you will be able to live a good life here in the country.
With the year 2020 being such a crazy one – and with 2021 still feeling the side-effects, we’re not seeing a spectacular increase in salaries in Romania, at least not similar to the previous years. But any increase is better than nothing, right?
UPDATE: This article was initially published in January 2017, but it has been rewritten and updated ever since to keep up with the increasing salaries in Romania – and I will continue to keep it up to date.
What is the minimum wage in Romania in 2021?
Until the end of 2018, things were pretty simple regarding the minimum wage in the country. We only had one minimum salary, and it was really low.
Now, things are a bit more complicated because there are THREE types of minimum salaries, depending on the experience level, studies each individual has, but also the field of work.
Therefore, the minimum salary structure in Romania is like this at the moment:
1. We have a general minimum salary of 1,386 Lei (which is around 285 Euros).
We’re talking about the net / 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.
The Gross minimum salary is 2,300 Lei. The minimum salary was increased by 40 lei (8 Eur) compared to 2020.
2. There is also a second-tier minimum salary in Romania for those who have completed college AND have 1 year of experience in the field: 1,413 Lei Net (around 290 Euros) – this is unchanged compared to 2019 and 2020, but around 5 Euros lower than last year, in reality, due to the exchange rate fluctuations.
The Gross salary for this category is 2,350 Lei.
3. Finally, we have a much larger salary for those working in construction: 2362 RON (around 485 Euros) – also unchanged from 2019 & 2020.
The gross salary here is 3,000 Lei per month in 2021.
These three salaries do complicate things a little bit in my opinion, but the change has been made already and apparently it works.
The main reason behind this change is to separate construction workers from the rest and offer better paying jobs to them, in order to reduce the job shortages.
Romania is bleeding workers who move to Western European countries, searching for better paying jobs.
By increasing the minimum salaries this much (yes, they were WAY lower a few years ago), the government hopes to keep workers at home – but it’s a difficult task since they are still way under what other countries in Europe are paying.
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 just 1,250 RON, then it was increased to 1,450 RON before getting to 1,900 RON in 2018 before 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 1,386 Lei for no studies / experience, 1,413 Lei for graduates with 1 year experience and 2,362 Lei for construction workers.
Currently, according to statistics, 1.4 million Romanians earn the minimum salary, out of around 7 million employees.
But the increase in the minimum wages had some side effects: prices are rising in Romania, inflation is high, the exchange rates for EUROS and USD are reaching new highs each day, so in actual buying power things haven’t changed as much.
But this still resulted in an increased quality of life for those living on a minimum wage, even though things have slowed down a bit during the craziness that surrounds the years 2020 and 2021.
What is the average wage in Romania in 2020?
An interesting thing about the average salary in Romania in 2021 is this: even though the minimum wages have seen spectacular increases in the past few years, the average wages didn’t follow the same trend.
This makes sense, because average salaries are not regulated. And even with 2020 being such a strange year, average wages in Romania went up.
Back to actual values, the average take-home salary in Romania in 2021 is around 3,300 RON per month (675 Euros).
You can check out the National Institute of statistics for updated monthly values of the average wage in the country throughout the year.
Compared to the previous year, the average wage in Romania has increased by some 50 Euros – one of the biggest increases in recent years. It’s interesting to note that the average salary has more than doubled since 2013.
And despite 2020 bringing such a financial mess, it’s really encouraging to see that salaries are still going up.
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 ones.
In other words, you have the potential to earn more in the larger cities, but the cost of living there is also higher.
We’re spending under 1,500 Euros per month as a family of three living in the provinces in a smaller city, but larger ones might need more money.
Cost of living
Some time ago, I wrote an article detailing how you can live in the country on $1,000 per month. I had to update that article after I originally published it, 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.
If you don’t want to, then I would have to say that for a foreigner moving here, the average take-home wage (685 Euros/month) would not be enough to live a decent life, if you have to pay for accommodation.
It would still be doable if you choose shared living and are very frugal. It’s even easier if your employee pays for accommodation (which would save you some 200 – 350 EUR per month).
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 even though things are changing here, many industries are left behind.
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 teachers must meet (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!
Also, there is an increasing demand for workers in the construction field, with decent salaries to follow (although still not the highest in the country).
With these in mind, let’s check out some of the best paid jobs in Romania. The salaries below are average amounts from 2020, so they might be a bit higher in 2021.
1. IT: 17,000 Lei (3,500 Euros per month for a Senior Software Dev)
2. Oil extraction: 9,000 lei (1,845 Euros per month)
3. Engineering: 7,300 Lei (1,500 Eur/month)
4. Banking: 5,859 Lei (1.200 Eur/month)
5. Heavy industry: 5,000 Lei (1.025 Euros per month)
Other jobs that pay well include:
Truck Driver: 4,500 RON (940 Eur)
Marketing: 4,500 RON (940 Eur)
BPO: 4,150 Lei (800 Euros per month)
Engineering: 4,000 RON (835 Eur)
Have in mind that these are just averages and estimates and actual salaries that a company is willing to pay can be very different from the values above.
Hopefully knowing the minimum and average salary in Romania in 2021 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.
If you have data from various industries or any comments to make that will help us all better understand the system in Romania, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts below.