Workers stand on a platform near steel bars at a factory belonging to Ezz Steel, Egypt's largest steel producer, at an industrial complex in Sadat City, 94 km (58 miles) north of Cairo, April 17, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
Average weekly salaries in Egypt grew by 20 percent in 2012 to reach LE641 (approx. $92), data from the country's statistics body, CAPMAS, showed on Monday.
In 2011, Egyptian workers were paid an average weekly salary of LE534.
The growth was mainly driven by salary increases for public sector and government workers, whose average weekly pay grew by 29 percent in 2012 to reach LE845, according to the report.
Private sector workers in firms employing more than 10 people, on the other hand, saw their weekly pay fall by 0.5 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, to reach an average of LE395.
The majority of Egypt's 27-million labour force work in the private sector.
The extent to which such statistics represent the reality of compensation received by Egyptian workers is, however, contested.
"The definition of the word 'salaries' is unclear; is it gross, net or basic salaries?" said Samir Radwan, a labour economist and Egypt's former finance minister. "So, for example, the private sector tends to under-report salaries to avoid paying high social insurance for employees."
The CAPMAS report issued on Monday did not clarify the criteria used to calculate average salaries nor the number of employees included in the survey. CAPMAS officials declined to provide additional information when contacted by Ahram Online.
Radwan added that the increase in public sector salaries could be attributed to periodic raises given to workers, which are initially accounted for as 'special allowances' then combined with basic salaries after a few years.
"I would not completely rely on such statistics; I would rather use enterprise surveys, which show pay scales in individual sectors," Radwan explained.
Wages and benefits for public sector workers, which account for nearly a quarter of Egypt's state budget, are forecast to grow by 21 percent in the fiscal year starting in June.
Workers in the financial intermediary and insurance sectors recorded the highest average weekly salaries at LE2,025, according to CAPMAS, while education recorded the lowest at LE212.
Average weekly working hours reached 52 hours in the public sector and 58 hours in the private sector.
Egypt's unemployment rate for 2012 grew to 12.7 percent and the jobless total reached 3.4 million.
Egypt's inflation rate averaged 8.6 percent in 2012.