This chart has been doing the rounds lately. It seems to be based on a TUC (UK trade union) analysis of the 2016 OECD Employment Outlook publication (Figure 1.6). But that particular figure shows changes in real wages over four consecutive periods since 2007 and clearly summing these numbers would not give the statistic they claim.

The OECD itself has a perfectly good tool for analysing real wages (https://data.oecd.org/earnwage/average-wages.htm) and it seems to give similar trends but very different actual figures.

What is going on?

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  • 1
    It looks as if the OECD uses the average across a year and PPP exchange rates for its interactive chart but the Q4 figures with national currency units for its country specific articles, in both cases making an inflation adjustment. This methodology difference inside the OECD may be enough to lead to noticeable differences in numbers over eight years.
    – Henry
    Aug 2, 2016 at 7:26
  • That might explain some of the differences, but there are some countries on the chart that do not have corresponding articles on the OECD website: the OECD interactive chart would seem to predict a change of -17.8 % (2007-2015) instead of -10.4%.
    – bactrian
    Aug 2, 2016 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


If you go to the link OECD Employment Outlook 2016 and scroll down to "country specific findings", there are more-detailed explanations for individual countries, and quarterly graphs starting with Q4 2007 normalized to 100.

For example:


In contrast to many other OECD countries, real wages have grown rapidly in Germany since 2011, being more than 14% higher at the end of 2015 than in 2007. This represents a partial unwinding of the considerable wage restraint that Germany experienced prior to the global financial crisis.

United Kingdom:

Average hourly real wages fell by more than 10% after 2007, and have only recovered slightly as the labour market strengthened in 2015. From April 2016, a new higher minimum wage rate applies for adults aged 25 and over.

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