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Worrying developments in industry workers’ salaries

As an organization that is well acquainted with the state of the industry field and the hundreds of thousands of industrial workers, we at Mems 20 feel obliged to share our enthusiasms as well as our concerns about the “way the wind is blowing.” Today, we want to highlight worrying developments in industry workers’ salaries.

(This article is written by our Norwegian HR manager Thor Soldal, on behalf of industry workers.)

Salary increases are not keeping up with inflation

Based on an extensive survey we have given to industrial workers in selected countries within the US, Europe, and Asia, it appears that year-to-year salary increases are not keeping up with inflation. This is perhaps not noticed so much on a yearly basis, as on a ten-year basis, because sometimes the inflation is low and sometimes high. We haven’t only performed this survey in 2021, but all the way since 2010. Here are some of our findings.

The consequences

When the salary of industrial workers doesn’t increase at the same rate as inflation, a number of consequences appear (as these workers explained themselves in a section of our survey with the question “How would you explain your current financial situation, compared to 10 years ago?”). 

Fewer opportunities at home

When salaries become lower in relation to the market’s increasing costs, industrial workers experience fewer opportunities at home in terms of the ability to take holidays, buy things they want, and spend more time with their families. 

Loan terms are harder to fulfill

Lower relative salaries also lead to worse loan terms. Given that the workers have to spend more of their salary on the increasingly expensive basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing for their families, a smaller portion is left to pay down loans. Financial services companies like Lån For Deg in Norway, HSBC in France, and N26 in Germany have reported that they aren’t able to accept as many loan applications as they were 10 years ago for industrial workers, according to answers they gave us in mails we sent out. We sent out these mails to financial companies in the areas where most industrial workers had answered our surveys, to get a more holistic view of the case. 

Tension at home

Perhaps the most difficult consequence to bear, given the low relative salaries, is increase tension at home. Many of our survey participants wrote that, over the course of a decade, a failure to handle financial problems had led to poor family life and divorces. 

What needs to happen

In order for life to become better for the world’s industrial workers, we must come to a universal awareness of the problems that these hard-working individuals are facing, as a result, salary increases’ inability to keep up with inflation. Once we have made the governing organs in some countries aware of this, progress can be made, as other countries may more easily learn how to emulate the solution to this problem without buckling under the increased costs that will be associated with further salary increases.