Do people mean after or before income tax when they quote salary figures in Europe?

For example, do salary quotes in glassdoor or other salary sites are take-home salaries?

I was wondering this because they do quote product prices after "sales" tax.

  • 4
    In the countries I am familiar with, it's usually before taxes and it says so explicitly (words like “brut” or “Brutto”).
    – Gala
    Nov 22, 2016 at 7:12
  • 1
    An employer does not know your take-home pay, because the amount of taxes paid depends on personal circumstances. VAT does not depend on personal circumstances and is the same for everybody.
    – gerrit
    Nov 22, 2016 at 10:30
  • @gerrit I don't think you can generalise that to all of Europe. In Belgium, as far as I know, employers transfer wages after most taxes have been deducted; the income taxes go directly from the employer to the state.
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 22, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    @Gala for the sake of those who don't know, I will mention that brut and brutto correspond to the English gross, as in gross pay. This is opposed, of course, to net pay, although those who say brutto will generally say netto.
    – phoog
    Nov 22, 2016 at 20:00
  • 1
    @ChristopheStrobbe Employers know how much they withhold for taxes for each employee, but as Aganju's answer notes, when they are advertising a position, they have no idea who will be filling it, and no idea about the factors that will affect the eventual employee's withholding. In particular, taxes generally depend on family size and household income.
    – phoog
    Nov 22, 2016 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


As the same gross salary can and will result in very different net payments to the employee, it does not make much sense to discuss salaries in 'net'. In any job description or offer, and in most discussions, salaries mentioned are therefore gross values.

It depends of course of the circumstances - a job that somebody currently has results in a well defined net payment to him, and he might tell his friends his net payments. However, as anyone else in the same position for the same company would probably get a different net payment, the information is not very useful, and a gross salary would actually give more information.

You will never get a job offer or description with a net payment, it does not make sense.

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