Talking money: Average wage in Germany 

Talking money: Average wage in Germany 

by Sandra Köktaş

Updated November 7, 2022

What can you expect to earn in Germany? Knowing the average wage in Germany can be a helpful benchmark. If you get an offer way below this, you know it’s time to negotiate or look for something else. 

But the average salary alone doesn’t tell you how comfortable your life in Germany will be. Maybe you want to be better off than just average. And maybe you can expect more in your line of work. Besides, the salary is just the start. More important is how far it will get you. Don’t worry! We will walk you through the most important data to determine how to make the best of working in Germany.

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What is the average salary in Germany?

According to Statista, the average gross monthly salary in Germany was 4100 Euro in 2021. That makes 49,200 Euros per year. To calculate the average salary, a certain number of people are asked to report their salaries. These are added up and the sum is then divided by the number of respondents. Naturally, there are low and high salaries included in this sum as well as salaries of part-time workers. 

If you want to know how good your salary is compared to most other people in Germany, you would have to look at the median salary in Germany, too. According to the Gehaltsatlas 2021, which uses data from 2020, the median salary in Germany was 43,200 Euro gross. This means that 50 % of Germans earned less than 43,200 Euro, and 50 % of Germans earned more than that. So much for the average income in Germany.

Gross and net salary in Germany

Now let’s talk about gross and net salary in Germany. For the wages in Germany, this can make a dramatic difference. The gross salary is the sum usually stated in your contract. The net salary is what is left after the deduction of taxes, social security contributions and other costs. These differ depending on your income, your marital status, number of kids and other things. For a first idea, you can expect your net salary to be 35 % less than your gross salary. For an accurate number, you can calculate your personal net salary online. At least, you can hope for an income tax return.

What is a good salary in Germany?

What you consider a good salary depends of course on your own expectations and your lifestyle. Still, a good salary would probably be well above the average salary and median salary in Germany. It would also allow you a comfortable life considering the purchasing power in Germany. The purchasing power is the amount of money each German has available to spend on average. By 2021, the purchasing power in Germany was 23,637 Euro. A good gross salary in Germany would probably be around 60,000 Euro, about a third above the average income in Germany. Don’t forget that living in Germany has many benefits such as minimal expenses for education and medical care as well as a reliable social security system.

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What is the base salary in Germany?

Introduced in January 2015, the base salary states the minimum wage per hour for every worker aged over 18 and is reviewed every two years. As of July 2022, the minimum wage is 10.45 Euro gross per hour. In October 2022, the minimum wage will be raised to 12 Euro. Also good to keep in mind: The minimum wage does not apply to freelancers and other forms of self-employment.

What influences your salary in Germany?

Your salary largely depends on your career choice, education and experience. Doctors for example are among those earning the highest wages in Germany, while skilled crafts and trades or jobs in administration are on the lower end of the income scale. And generally speaking, every year of education and experience adds to your salary. This gives you plenty of room to negotiate.

The location has an influence on your salary, too. While the south of Germany pays better than the north, the cost of living tends to be higher, especially in the Munich area. Take this into account when moving to Germany. Sadly, your gender still has a considerable impact on your wages in Germany. Women still earn 18% less per hour than men in Germany on average

Remember: Being a native English speaker is an advantage. But your German proficiency will influence your salary, too.

Wages in Germany: How to make the best of your job

Considering the purchasing power, the cost of living and other benefits that come with living and working in Germany, the average wage in Germany is not too bad. As a skilled and experienced professional, you should be able to land a job that pays well and allows you to enjoy your life in Germany.

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Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website

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