Romania was among the EU states with the highest share of low-wage earners (24.4 percent) in 2014. The highest percentages were observed in Latvia (25.5 percent), Lithuania (24 percent) and Poland (23.6 percent), followed by Estonia (22.8 percent), Germany (22.5 percent), Ireland (21.6 percent) and the United Kingdom (21.3 percent), according to a release of Eurostat.

In contrast, less than 10 percent of employees were low wage earners in Sweden (2.6 percent), Belgium (3.8 percent), Finland (5.3 percent), Denmark (8.6 percent), France (8.8 percent) and Italy (9.4 percent).

Overall the share of low-wage earners among employees amounted to 17.2 percent in 2014 in the EU, which means that they earned two-thirds or less of their national median gross hourly earnings.

There are large differences between genders and age groups regarding the proportion of low-wage earners. In the EU in 2014, 21.1 people of female employees earned a low-wage, compared with 13.5 percent of male employees. Moreover, almost a third (30.1 percent) of employees aged less than 30 earned a low wage, compared with 14 percent or less for age groups between 30 and 59.

The level of education also plays an important role: the lower the level, the higher is the likelihood of being a low-wage earner. In the EU in 2014, while 28.2 percent of employees with a low education level were low-wage earners, the share decreased to 20.9 percent for those with a medium education level and to less than 7 percent (6.4 percent) for employees with a high education level.
Georgiana Bendre