What does the wage structure depend on? Evidence from the national salary survey in Spain





Employee participation, high-performance work practices, AMO framework, Extrinsic motivation, Human resources management, remuneration, salary structure survey, INE


Purpose: This paper aims to assess extrinsic motivation in the Spanish labor market. We focus on evaluating whether remuneration programs have a sufficient prevalence in the Spanish context to be considered in research models. Besides, we are also interested in identifying which are the factors that might affect the adoption of those programs.

Design/methodology/approach: We gather the data from three waves (2006, 2010, and 2014) of the salary structure survey (EES) conducted by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE). We use Descriptive Statistics for identifying the incidence and intensity of remuneration programs in the Spanish context. We use the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) for exploring which factors are affecting the implementation of remuneration programs.

Findings: Our results show that both degree of use and intensity of remuneration programs related to extrinsic motivation are low. There are not important differences between the three series of data. It seems that the rigidity of the Spanish labor legislation influences the salary structure. In this sense, the basic salary and fixed payments are the central part of the monthly gross amount. Finally, few of the factors under study have a substantial effect on the intensity of variable retribution.

Research limitations: Our research uses only official data provided by company payroll records and many economic participation programs are grouped into a single category within the survey, which limits the possibility of analysis. In addition, the cross-sectional nature of the data limits the possibility of establishing causal relationships.

Practical implications: We have concluded that remuneration programs related to extrinsic motivation are not being widely used in the Spanish context. This fact is relevant since many studies point out that employee involvement is essential for the success of organizations in the current context

Originality/value: The importance of the study lies in its focus on the salary structure to assess whether extrinsic motivation mechanisms are used in the Spanish labor market. We have studied the salary structure composition in Spain in a disaggregated way, focusing on variable remuneration, whereas most of the previous research considers the salary as a whole (total gross salary without dividing by retribution concepts). Also, we have identified which factors are affecting the implementation of remuneration programs.mic programs. Also, we have clarified several issues related to the salary structure in Spain


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Author Biographies

Juan A. Marin-Garcia, Universitat Politècnica de València

ResearcherID A-4069-2011 Scopus Author ID 14024595300

ROGLE - Departamento de Organización de Empresas -


Juan Martínez-Tomás

Profesional de Empresa


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How to Cite

Marin-Garcia, J. A., & Martínez-Tomás, J. (2022). What does the wage structure depend on? Evidence from the national salary survey in Spain. WPOM-Working Papers on Operations Management, 13(1), 35–63. https://doi.org/10.4995/wpom.16808



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