The first thing every traveler does when planning a vacation is to check out the costs in the desired destination. You want to make sure you can afford those cocktails in Belgrade clubs! But what about the people who live there year-round? What is the average salary in Belgrade? We know it is a question you are too shy to ask, so we are going to demystify our earnings and average salary in Belgrade and Serbia.
If you are planning to move – or spend some time in Belgrade, you are probably curious about the remuneration you will get for your work. However. everyone’s situation is different and there are a lot of variables to take into account. Keep in mind that the numbers we state can vary significantly depending on your field of work and other individual circumstances.
The average salary in Belgrade – what should you know
The currency in Serbia is the Serbian dinar (RSD). The exchange rates are “floating” but quite stable as well, especially when paired with euros. Currently, the rate is as follows: 1 USD = 115 RSD; 1 EUR = 118 RSD; 1 GBP = 140 RSD.
By law, companies registered in Serbia have to pay the salary in dinars. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. Still, if you work for a Serbian company, it is safe to assume that you will be paid in dinars. If that’s not the case, the contract will specify it. The contract will also specify other details of your employment, and it is an essential part of your work engagement in Serbia.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of “gray” economy in Serbia, which means that only one part of the salary (typically minimum salary) is specified in the contract and paid into the bank account. The taxes are paid only on that amount, and the rest is given in cash to the employee. This practice is not just illegal, but it has no real advantage to the worker. Do not accept such an arrangement if you are offered a job in Serbia, and do not accept working conditions worse than in the contract.
Net or gross?
Due to applicable taxes, the net and gross amounts differ. Your contract will include either net or gross salary (or both) so pay attention! It is quite common for people to talk about net salary when discussing their income. The reason for that is because the flat-rate taxation applies to most employees, so it is easier to know how much you take home. The employer deducts the taxes automatically and deposits the net amount in full to the employee’s bank account. Besides taxes, Serbian employers and employees also have to pay mandatory contributions. It means, they have to pay a certain percentage to the health insurance fund, retirement fund, and unemployment fund. Altogether, mandatory deductions are around 35% of gross salary. Have this in mind when negotiating your salary, and if in doubt – ask.
Let’s talk about numbers – what is the actual average salary in Belgrade
According to the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, the average salary in Belgrade is close to the republic’s average. The net amount is 74,168 RSD, which is 102,432 RSD gross. However, this number can be misleading, as it does not take into account other important factors. For example, salaries often differ based on experience, education, and other factors. As usual, entry-level jobs tend to pay less than jobs that require more experience or specialized skills. To illustrate, the median net salary is 56,582 RSD, while the minimum net salary is 35.415 RSD.
The average salary in Belgrade and Serbia varies greatly when your occupation and industry are taken into the account. For example, the average software engineer in Belgrade makes at least 150,000 per month while the average waiter or cashier only makes around 40,000 per month. Also, the abovementioned “gray” economy skews the data about the average salary in Belgrade. But, at the end of the day, it is important to the general rule in business – what you pay is what you get, so it applies to the Serbian business climate as well.
Working in Serbia
Overall, Belgrade is a great city to live and work in if you can find a job that pays well. Other cities, such as Novi Sad and Niš, are attractive to digital nomads as well. If you want to be employed like a local, in most cases, you will need a working permit. Your employer will have to obtain it on your behalf (unless you are in certain exempted groups).
Another popular way of working in Belgrade is working remotely for a foreign employer. This is becoming an increasingly attractive arrangement since the cost of living in Belgrade is relatively low when compared to other major cities, so your salary will go further here. In that case, you will earn way more than the average salary in Belgrade, and you will be able to afford a high living standard. It is important to make sure you follow the immigration rules and do not overstay in Serbia.
Freelancing and working for a foreign employer while in Serbia are still gray areas. The law is not very clear regarding this matter. However, if you plan to establish residence in Serbia or spend a long time here (for example, more than 3 months), a tax liability can arise. Having that in mind, we suggest you consult with a lawyer specializing in employment matters. If you are planning to stay for only a few days or weeks, then you can just enjoy being location-independent. Rent an affordable flat in central Belgrade – or elsewhere – and work from one of the cozy Belgrade cafes or even coworking spaces.
Becoming an employer in Serbia
Knowing the average salary in Belgrade sounds like a good opportunity to come to Serbia and establish a company here. Or, you just want to legally register as a self-employed entity. In all cases, Serbia will welcome you with open hands. After all, everyone loves investors and innovators, and we would be proud to be the birthplace of your successful business. Your legal position will be a bit different in this situation, and it requires a more comprehensive approach. The procedures, documentation, taxation, etc depend heavily on factors such as industry, number of employees you plan to hire, location, etc. So, stay tuned, as soon we will write about opening your own business in Belgrade and Serbia. Are you interested in working in Belgrade – let us know?