While the EU has its share of problems, we are convinced that many entrepreneurs could have greater success running their business from Europe rather than from a beach in Thailand.
We wanted to share some interesting data on the average salary in European countries so you can get an idea of where you might want to go. If you have a business that requires hiring people, you can save a lot of money hiring in some of these countries.
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The Lowest Salary Countries In Europe
While membership in the European Union, or lack thereof, does not significantly impact salaries in the Balkans, the lowest-cost places to hire workers in Europe are outside of the EU.
$670 per month. Similar to Ukraine and Romania next door, Moldova has a high concentration of tech talent. Some Romanian companies are outsourcing work to Moldova at half the cost. $1,000 a month is considered an excellent salary here.
$980 per month. Macedonia is a small country to the south of Serbia, and while all do not speak English, the country is on the way up. A minimal investment in property can get you residency if you want to live in Skopje or the resort town of Ohrid in order to manage your staff.
$750 per month. Belgrade is one of our favorite cities in the Balkans, and its status as the capital of the former Yugoslavia means young people have been migrating here from smaller towns for years. Serbia has decent talent in journalism, customer service, and even some tech work, and the country itself is perhaps the most livable on this list of cheap countries.
$706 per month. Belgrade is one of the more interesting cities than Tirana, but Albania does have the advantage of plenty of coastline on the Adriatic Sea, including beach resorts like Durres. Albania has had a hard time gaining traction in a post-Yugoslavia environment, and entrepreneurs can expect the red carpet treatment as well as low taxes in the country.
$670 per month. While not exactly part of Europe, Georgia is a country on the rise. We have long been fans of one of the most capitalist countries in the world. The talent here is a little harder to find, but the government is among the easiest to deal with. Taxes on small businesses can be as low as 5%, and the banks are excellent.
$1,006. With flat tax rates of only 10%, Bulgaria has the lowest headline tax rate in all of Europe: lower than Ireland and, if you run a cash-flow business. Bulgaria is a favored jurisdiction for new company formation with plenty of business advantages. Popular industry sectors include the chemical industry, electronics, engineering, and health care.
$2,000. It’s important to remember that salaries in Romania and several other countries in the region are quoted as net, so you should be careful before offering an employee a certain amount and figuring out what employer and employee social taxes will cost you.
However, Romania is one of the best places to hire affordable, quality labor overseas, particularly for customer service workers as well as development. Almost every young person in Bucharest speaks excellent English and is used to dealing with US companies for a fraction of the price of hiring American workers.
Middle-Lower Salary Countries In Europe
While we wouldn’t rule out setting up a customer service operation in Romania or outsourcing development to Moldova or Georgia, we do believe that you get what you pay for. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to grow your business to the next level, paying a little more for work from an EU country might be the most hassle-free way to go.
$1,500. Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and hiring as little as one employee can get you a residence permit here. Real estate is about as cheap as it gets, and the city has a lot to offer. Not to mention that personal and corporate taxes there are rather low. English standards aren’t quite as good here, but Hungary is a great base to hire from and bring in workers from other eastern EU countries like Romania.
$2,100. Lithuania has done well getting European countries to move part of their operations within its borders. One study showed that Norwegian companies relocating to Vilnius could slash staffing costs by 80%; for every worker they could hire in Norway, they could hire 5 in Lithuania. Taxes in Lithuania are moderately low, with small businesses paying as little as 5% and residence permits possible for those wishing to actually live there and run a business.
$1,150. While Latvia’s entrepreneur and investor residence programs are harder to obtain and require a substantial tax contribution to the country as you work towards Latvian citizenship, Riga is an excellent place to live, and the country is heading in the right direction. From a strictly dollar and cents point of view, Lithuania is the better option, but Latvia is more livable and better connected to Europe.
$1,800. Poland is where Germany outsources much of its work. In fact, Amazon’s main distribution centers for Germany are based in Polish cities such as Wroclaw. While the older generation in Poland seems to still harbor some attachment to the “good old days,” young Polish people are eager to look toward Western Europe.
$1,800. As part of central Europe, the Czech Republic is more expensive to hire in. However, the cost of living in Prague and Brno is surprisingly low, considering how many tourists pass over the Charles Bridge every year. For me, Prague’s tourist status makes foreigners stand out in a bad way, but there is no denying the city is beautiful. If you need office staff and want to live in Prague, the residence permit process is harder than it used to be but still achievable.
$1,100. Portugal is about as west as you can get in Western Europe. While Portugal has taken steps (and largely succeeded) to revive its broken real estate market, unemployment is still elevated, and you can easily set up a company or hire Portuguese workers for your company based in a lower-tax EU jurisdiction.
$2,100. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is one of Europe’s most charming and romantic towns.
As summer approaches, everyone gathers along the gorgeous promenades along the Ljublanijca River, where picturesque bridges meet gorgeous churches and waters with a slight green tint. It feels like all of the charm of Bruges with a lower price tag.
For all of its natural beauty, seeming efficiency, and pleasant people, the cost of living in Ljubljana is not dirt cheap compared to other countries in the Balkans.
Slovenia is not the cheapest country to live in because of its proximity to Italy. Workers here earn salaries that are not half bad for the European Union as a whole. We can’t say this would be our top choice to hire people or set up a company, considering moderate tax rates and the higher labor cost, but it’s an interesting conclusion to this list of many European countries with affordable labor.
Hopefully, this list of the average salaries to hire affordable workers in Europe will inspire you to grow your business while planting new flags around the world. A number of entrepreneurs are moving from the Americas and Asia back to Europe to take advantage of a skilled workforce.
Add the fact that many lesser-known European countries are lowering taxes down to the EU minimum, and you may want to consider planting a business flag in one of these countries.
Would you like to unlock your business’s full potential and embrace the benefits of global expansion? Contact Nomad Capitalist, and our experts will guide you through establishing an international presence.