Bargain reports and analytics

Minimum wages around the world

PicodiJanuary 13, 2020

This is an archived report. The latest ranking is available here.

Picodi statement regarding the study „Minimum Wages Around the World”

The minimum wage used in the report was determined based on articles in news announcing the increase in wages to SR4,000. Since the increase had not entered into force at that time, the correct minimum wage in the report should be SR3,000.

Minimum wages around the world

Depending on the country, the minimum wage concerns from few to several dozens per cent of the working population. By definition, the minimum wage should protect employees against unduly low earnings. team has decided to find out if this money is enough to afford the minimum comfort of living, as well as how the minimum wage rates have changed in various countries in 2020.

Upward trend

The study included 54 countries where the national minimum wage exists. It turns out that taxation varies significantly from country to country. For example, in the Philippines and Hong Kong, the minimum wage is exempt from the personal income tax. In other places, the difference in gross and net salary could reach even 40 per cent (Romania). For this comparison to be adequate, we took into consideration net pay, which is the money an employee takes home after all deductions.

How have the minimum wage rates changed in 2020?

In 2020, the highest year to year increase in the minimum wage was noted in Nigeria (64.8 per cent). However, after converting into USD, this amount is still one of the lowest ($74). In some countries, like the US, Spain, South Africa or Latvia, the minimum wage remained unchanged. In Kazakhstan, the minimum wage didn’t change, but the actual amount that a worker gets into his pocket decreased, because of higher health insurance.

Saudi Arabia ranked 4 out of 54 countries included in the report. In 2020, the net pay is 33.3 per cent higher than in the previous year (4000﷼ compared to ﷼3000). In comparison, the minimum wage increased by 16.7 per cent in Pakistan, 7.8 per cent in India, and 4.8 per cent in the UK.

Basic food products

Just like the previous year, we decided to confront the minimum wage with food prices. The shopping basket created for the purpose of this report consists of eight items: bread, milk, eggs, rice, cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables. Even though this list is short and frugal, these products meet the nutritional needs of an adult and their prices are constantly monitored around the world.

At the beginning of 2020, food prices from the list are as follows:

  • Milk (10 litres) — 47.60﷼
  • Bread (10 loaves, 500 g each) — 26.30﷼
  • Rice (1.5 kg) — 9.87﷼
  • Eggs (20) — 12.63﷼
  • Cheese (1 kg) —19.76﷼
  • Poultry and beef (6 kg) — 175.41﷼
  • Fruits (6 kg) — 35.40﷼
  • Vegetables (8 kg) — 33.91﷼

The total price of basic food products amounts to 360.88﷼, which is 1.27 per cent more than in the previous year.

What are the prices of basic food products?

The basic shopping basket makes 9 per cent of the minimum net pay. With last year’s prices, the same products made 11.9 per cent of the minimum wage at that time. It means that in Saudi Arabia, the increase in wages outran the increase in prices.

Food spending around the world

There are just as many different ways to spend money as there are definitions of the comfort of living. Nevertheless, we compared the prices of the same products in various countries and checked what part of their budget people would have to spend on essential food products.

Ranking of the food prices to minimum wage ratio in various countries

In this comparison, Saudi Arabia placed 5th. The best ratio of food prices to the minimum wage was noted in Australia, followed by the United Kingdom and Ireland. In these countries, the basic food products are worth around 7 per cent of the minimum wage.

Lower in the ranking was Canada (9th place), the United States (12th place), South Korea (17th place), or Russia (44th place).

In some countries, like Nigeria or Uzbekistan, the minimum wage is so low that it does not cover the costs of even the most basic shopping basket.


In the report, the latest minimum wages were compared with the minimum wages applicable for 2019. We omitted countries where the minimum wage is negotiated with trade unions and those where there is no nation-wide minimum wage. As for countries where different minimum wage rates apply for various administrative units (Canada, Vietnam, Thailand), we calculated the mean value of all net wages. Net pays were determined with local tax calculators. Product prices come from where the data is gathered by internet users from all over the world.

For the conversion to local currencies, we used the average Google Finance rates for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Public Use

Feel free to use all the data and infographics presented in this report for both commercial and non-commercial purposes as long as you indicate the author of the research ( with a link to this subpage. If you have any questions, please contact us: