Billionaires vs Average Salaries Across The World

In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, some billionaires will have made their countries' average salary. Read on to find out who...

What can you get done in 7 seconds? How about a minute? Or — let's be generous here — 3 or 4 minutes? Write an email? Make a coffee? Compose a tweet?

How about earning the average salary of an entire country?

Well, some billionaires do.

According to Oxfam, there are 2,100 billionaires in the world with the equivalent wealth of around 4.6 billion people. Those billionaires rack up wealth pretty quickly, often earning thousands in a matter of minutes — we did some digging to find out which ones earn their homeland's national salary the quickest.

We used Forbes’ billionaire list, amongst other international titles, to find the richest people in different countries. We then consulted Forbes’ year on year net worth statistics for these individuals to approximate annual earnings. Annual average earnings for the countries concerned came from the World Bank.


The Data


Britain’s highest earner makes your salary in 3 minutes

The highest earning Brit 2019 - 2020 is Denise Coates of Bet365 fame. Her net worth grew $6.6bn over the course of the year, meaning she earned the average UK salary ($34,189) in 2 minutes and 59 seconds, just under the time it takes to listen to Abba’s Money Money Money, which clocks in at 3 minutes and 5 seconds.


India, China and France top the list

India is where the rich out-earn the average the quickest, with Mukesh Ambani’s estimated $7.1bn annual earnings getting him the average Indian salary ($1,678) in just 7 seconds. Ambani owns Reliance Industries, a multinational conglomerate with the highest market value of any company in India. The richest man in Asia earns the average salary in the time it takes to enter his PIN.

In 2nd place is China, where Ma Huateng, CEO of Asia’s biggest company (TenCent), amassed an enormous $6.4bn last year, earning him the average Chinese salary of $6,568 in 32.38 seconds. The first Chinese citizen to enter the top 10 richest people in the world, Mr Ma earns the national average in the time it takes his butler to put his diamond shoes on.

But it’s not all about Asia. France’s Bernault Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy, comes in 3rd place thanks to earning a stonking $31.7bn last year. This is the most amount of money earned by any human in the past 12 months and it means he earns the French average annual income ($32,555) in 32.41 seconds.

board room

Slim pickings — Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu tops the Latin American charts

In 4th place, the Latin American who earns his country’s average salary the fastest is Mexican Carlos Slim Helu. His Grupo Carso holdings brought him annual earnings of $5.2bn last year, earning the Mexican average of $6,972 in just 42 seconds. The world’s richest person for 3 years (2010 — 2013) according to Forbes, Slim Helu still commands more money than anyone else on the continent, and earns the average wage in the time it takes him to get a seat at one of the 5 star restaurants he presumably owns.


Jeff Bezos is number 9

Amazon’s Bezos is the richest man in the world. With a fortune north of $160bn, you’d expect him to feature highly on this list — and he does, but he only just makes the top 10. With 2019 / 2020 earnings of $15.9bn, he can expect to earn the US average of $51,485 in 1 minute 42 seconds. Call us back when you’re earning that in under a minute, Jeff.


Australia comes bottom of the list

Bottom of our list is Australian Gina Rinehart, whose $100m earnings over the past year contrast with the Australian average of $44,489, meaning Rinehart has to be patient and wait 3 hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds before she nets the average annual salary. Poor woman!

billionaires

Which sectors give you the best chance of out-earning the population?

We analysed the sectors in which our top 41 have business interests, to see the industries where business titans earn the average salary the fastest. Our results are below:

Sector

Occurrence in list of each country's wealthiest

Average seconds to national salary

Tech

2

32.4 seconds

Telecoms

3

42.3 seconds

Retail

7

1 minute, 23.6 seconds

Media

1

1 minute, 50.1 seconds

Palm Oil

1

1 minute, 55.4 seconds

Real Estate

7

1 minute, 56.4 seconds

Steel, Coal

1

2 minutes, 2.7 seconds

Construction

3

2 minutes, 30.4 seconds

Gambling

1

2 minutes, 59.8 seconds

Sports

1

4 minutes, 3.2 seconds

Food and Drink

5

4 minutes, 6.8 seconds

Finance

6

6 minutes, 19.8 seconds

Diamonds

1

6 minutes, 31.8 seconds

Engineering

1

16 minutes, 34.8 seconds

Shipping

4

30 minutes, 46.9 seconds

Energy

3

1 hour, 30 minutes, 24.1 seconds

Mining

1

3 hours, 37 minutes, 48 seconds

The tech and telecoms sectors are your fastest tickets to out-earning the average population of your country, with those on our list involved in those sectors earning the average national wage in under 45 seconds. This won’t come as a surprise, with so many of the world’s biggest firms having a stake in all things digital and connectivity, and so much of that opportunity available in areas with lower incomes.

It might be more of a surprise to see retail feature so highly — wealthy people on our list with retail in their portfolio earn the average salary of their nations in 83 seconds. Real estate is also a common thread amongst our 41 richest folk, with 7 individuals having property as a heavy feature in their portfolios. These 7 earn the average annual salary in just under 2 minutes. Maybe bricks and mortar ain’t dead after all!

More traditional areas of wealth, such as finance, engineering, energy and shipping are down at the bottom. There’s still a lot of money to be made in these areas, but comparatively less so compared to the average population than in countries where tech is thriving!


Comment

vouchercloud founder Greg Le Tocq said:

It’s fascinating to see how wealth has spread across the world, and in which countries the super-rich have outpaced everyone else. We were surprised by the sheer variety of countries represented in the top 5. From the Asian powerhouses of China and India; to European mainstays like France; and Latin American giant Mexico, the split between the highest earners and the average citizen is remarkable everywhere you go!


Methodology

To find the richest people in each country, we used Forbes’ billionaire list as well as some domestic publications for Armenia, Montenegro and Pakistan.

To get the annual salary of the richest people, we looked at Forbes’ year on year net worth statistics for these individuals and calculated the change from 2019 to 2020. This figure is used to approximate annual earnings. If the richest person from a given country had a net worth which decreased 2019 - 2020, the country was not used. The only exception to this was the United Kingdom. To get an example of UK wealth, we went down the list of UK billionaires until we found one whose net worth increased 2019 - 2020, this was Denise Coates.

Net worths change very quickly - by hundreds of millions of dollars every day. These figures are intended as a snapshot of a typical year and they were accurate at the date of recording on 17th February 2020.

Annual average earnings from the countries concerned came from the World Bank, with the exception of Hong Kong which came from Deutschebank.


Sources:


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