Weekly newsletter

“EUR 542 (HUF 192,506). This is what a university adjunct professor earns in Hungary today, with a doctoral degree and constant research and publication obligations,” an adjunct at the Eötvös Lóránd University (ELTE) wrote on social media recently. His post has put university researchers’ low salaries back on the agenda. The government promises a two-step wage hike.

As a matter of fact, this net salary equals a gross sum of roughly HUF 290,000 (EUR 806), which is around average of what Hungarian university researchers on this level in public institutions make. To put these amounts into context, skilled workers’ monthly minimum wage now amounts to HUF 219,000 (EUR 609), and unskilled workers’ minimum wage before taxes currently stands at HUF 167,400 (EUR 465) in Hungary. Although Prime Minister Orbán has promised to raise the monthly minimum wage (of unskilled employees) to HUF 200,000 (EUR 556), it would still remain one of the lowest in the EU. In addition, associate professors with habilitation are the first ones on the career ladder whose gross salary surpassed April’s gross average wage (that the Central Statistical Office measured as HUF 440,600- EUR 1,225).

The man behind the post, Aleksander Urkom, then somewhat nervously asked: “Why are most of my colleagues moody and dissatisfied? (…) And why does an assistant professor in Hungary have to take on 3 part-time jobs in order to be able to live at all? Do you think this is a shame of the university lecturers or that of the country? Let university teaching really be appreciated,” he concluded.

The president of the Trade Union of Employees in Higher Education (FDSZ) also confirmed that this aforementioned case isn’t an unusual one at all, but rather the Hungarian reality. A university associate professor who attends or has already graduated from a doctoral program earns a net salary of HUF 147,477 (EUR 410), which is a mere HUF 883 (EUR 2.5) per hour, the official claimed.

The question has also been raised at the Prime Minister’s chief of staff’s regular press conference held on Thursday. Gergely Gulyás said salaries at state-run universities would be raised by 15% on September 1st, then again on January 1st.

featured image illustration via via Pixabay