Jack Ma was a teacher. So was J.K. Rowling.

They probably didn’t get paid as much as teachers in Luxembourg, though.

There, the average lower secondary school teacher with 15 years’ experience earned more than $100,000 last year.

That’s more than 40% more than German teachers, who come second on the OECD’s list of teachers’ salaries.

European nations dominate the top of the list, taking six of the top 10. Only South Korea, the US, Canada and Australia break the monopoly.

A trilingual challenge

The three languages spoken in Luxembourg are reflected in the education system, with pupils taught in Luxembourgish, French and German at different points during their school years.

As a result, pupils frequently don’t learn in the language they speak at home, and it has the highest number of foreign languages learnt per student.

A challenge not only for pupils, but also for the country’s teachers.

Or should that be lehrer. Or maybe professeurs.

Towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral are seen in this general view of the city of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg's Notre-Dame Cathedral
Image: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

What are we measuring?

The OECD measures teachers’ salaries in various ways - by level (primary, lower secondary and upper secondary), years of experience, and by looking at the very top of the pay scale.

The chart above looks at lower secondary school teachers with 15 years’ experience. It’s the average gross salary of educational personnel according to official pay scale - but before tax deductions.

You can read the full definition here.