Finance

Top 10 Countries With the Lowest Wages 2024

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One of the key challenges when hiring internationally is complying with local compensation laws, including minimum wage rates.

Morocco has wage standards which differ across its economy. Public sector workers receive minimum monthly wages of $310 USD while those employed by private firms have slightly higher pay, yet still fall far short of providing adequate income.

1. Venezuela

Venezuela boasts one of the lowest minimum wages worldwide. President Nicolas Maduro recently increased Venezuela’s minimum wage to a stunning 40,683 bolivares per month–not enough for even covering one month’s basic food basket according to estimates by CENDA research group.

The country has been plagued by currency devaluation, inflation and hyperinflation – with prices for everything from food to toilet paper increasing exponentially. Public sector workers often take second jobs or depend on remittances from relatives living overseas in order to meet rising expenses.

Other countries with low wages on our list tend to be in Asia and Africa, though Turkey and Argentina stand out due to experiencing major currency crises – in Turkey’s case losing 40 % of its value between 2021-2022; as a result prices for basic goods and services increased rapidly, increasing costs, as well as pushing up minimum wages accordingly.

2. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan, located in Central Asia, is a mountainous country boasting abundant natural resources like hydroelectric power, gold and some uranium deposits. Additionally, Kyrgyzstan boasts several tourist destinations and other tourist-oriented businesses.

Kyrgyzstanis often work abroad – mostly in Russia and Kazakhstan – and their earnings remittance back home, contributing nearly 1/3 of GDP through remittances.

Kyrgyz, a Turkic people, still maintain nomadic traditions by traveling seasonally to high alpine pastures where they herd livestock. These traditions are represented by a 40-rayed sun on the flag which symbolizes clans and herding families; many families still reside in round tents known as yurts which can often be seen throughout rural areas – an integral component of Kyrgyz culture.

3. Bangladesh

Garment factories employ 4 million workers in Bangladesh and supply brands like H&M and Gap. Garment exports account for 16% of GDP.

Factory workers who have gone five years without receiving an increase to their wages are struggling to meet basic needs, turning to extra shift income or loans as sources of survival. Many are skipping meals altogether in order to stay alive.

Government proposals for a new minimum wage of 12,500 taka are significantly below trade union demands of 23,000 taka, according to research, which would lift workers out of poverty. International brands with influence in this matter should support trade union demands and absorb any higher labor costs; additionally they should drop charges against factory workers who participated in recent protests, in order to sign the Accord on Sustainable Garment Manufacturing and support a living wage in Bangladesh.

4. Morocco

Morocco boasts an excellent human capital base, boasting many highly qualified workers and boasting several dozen universities and institutes of higher learning – including its first English-language university in northwest Africa.

However, its economy remains heavily reliant on agriculture and has been severely harmed by severe droughts. Furthermore, its inhabitants face challenges related to an informal sector with low female labor participation rates and large informal sector employment rates.

Morocco’s minimum monthly wages in 2023 for public and private sectors respectively was set at $310 and $265 respectively; these rates did not account for overtime pay, seniority bonuses or payroll frequency in Morocco which are commonly included as part of employment contracts/collective agreements. Overtime is determined according to Morocco’s labor code with mutual agreement between employers and employees for overtime pay; workers also entitled to 13th salaries without this being guaranteed by law.

5. South Africa

South Africa is Africa’s second-most populous nation and offers an exquisite synthesis of multiple ethnicities, languages and cultures. Johannesburg serves as its vibrant commercial and entertainment center while Cape Town acts as its legislative, political and judicial capital.

As with other countries on our list, South Africa also mandates an employer-mandated minimum wage rate which they are obliged to pay their employees. The national minimum wage rate is reviewed periodically, and any breach could result in penalties being levied against noncompliance employers.

South Africa has seen a great number of skilled workers leave, citing poor economy and limited opportunities for advancement as major drawsbacks to staying. Furthermore, HIV/AIDS pandemic has only compounded these trends; though awareness campaigns and improved access to anti-retroviral drugs is stabilizing these trends somewhat. Minimum wages do not include tips; they may still be earned on top of base pay.

6. Ukraine

Ukraine is an exciting and promising country that offers much to both locals and multinational businesses seeking outsourced work. Ukraine boasts highly trained workers and modern infrastructure that make it ideal for expanding operations into Europe.

Ukraine is also one of the lowest wage nations. In May 2016, 50 or more workers in Chernihiv, Ternopil, Kherson and Odessa regions received less than 3200 UAH per month in wages – prompting Government consideration of allocating an increased budget for State Employment Service of Ukraine so it can provide unemployment benefits and active job promotion services to individuals across Ukraine.

Official payroll data does not account for payments to employees working for micro-businesses and those involved in informal work activities, nor those seconded abroad as high-paid professionals.

7. Tunisia

Tunisia is an attractive location for remote work and boasts one of the fastest internet speeds in Africa. However, before hiring a team here it’s essential that all parties involved understand local employment law requirements.

Tunisians workers must pay income and social contributions monthly; the top tax rate stands at 35%.

Tunisian employees earned a minimum hourly wage of 2.06 Tunisian dinars for 48-hour work weeks and 2.11 dinars for 40-hour weeks (equivalent to $0.66 and 0.68 U.S. dollars per hour, respectively) as of Jan 2023.

UGTT has staged frequent protests over high inflation, food shortages and government increases to basic goods like fuel and cooking gas cylinders. Furthermore, the country has experienced slow economic growth and widespread unemployment issues over time.

8. Morocco

Morocco boasts an advanced economy with high growth and low inflation; however, economic development is constrained by its over-dependence on agriculture that relies heavily on rainfall fluctuations for its sustenance.

Since independence, Morocco’s government has actively promoted emigration as an invaluable source of remittances and way to combat urban unemployment. Many Moroccans live abroad today – particularly Western Europe.

This month, the government has announced an increase in the legal minimum wage that will come into effect. This second rise follows an agreement between government and unions (SMIG and SMAG) reflecting food price increases and inflation reaching 5% in August. An increase in employee purchasing power stimulates consumer spending which boosts economic activity while helping combat poverty and inequality; opponents argue it will raise prices forcing businesses to reduce employment leading to job loss.

9. Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan, located in Central Asia, is a landlocked, lower middle income nation bordering Kazakhstan to its north, China to its east, Tajikistan to its south and Uzbekistan to its west.

Politically, Algeria is a semi-presidential representative democratic republic with the president serving as both head of state and prime minister; their constitution was originally adopted in 1993 but later amended following protests over perceived corruption of ruling elite to grant more power to parliament.

Kyrgyz economy is transitioning away from agriculture, but many households rely on agriculture. Agriculture remains highly vulnerable to climate change with drought, landslides and mudslides as well as floods and glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) all becoming risks; many natural hazards caused by poor water management.

10. Bangladesh

Bangladesh, where over half the population lives below poverty line, recently increased the minimum wage for garment workers to 12,500 taka per month – but that remains far short of trade union demands of 23,000 taka, which comprehensive cost-of-living studies confirm as necessary to bring them above it.

H&M, Next, GAP and Patagonia all source from Bangladesh, but have so far failed to support trade union demands of 23,000 BDT for living wages or increase prices to cover these increased costs.

As the global economy slows down, it is crucial that brands take steps to ensure they pay their suppliers enough for them to survive if they want their apparel and other goods produced responsibly. Otherwise, their failure will have dire repercussions for those involved with producing it.