Statistics still show significant wage gap between East and West Germany

Statistics still show significant wage gap between East and West Germany

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) have shown that employees working in Germany’s western federal states still earn considerably more than their eastern counterparts, despite some progress. This has been met with calls for wage adjustment from The Left.

Western Germans work less but earn more

Employees in western Germany still earn significantly more than employees in the eastern states. Responding to a request from The Left in the Bundestag, the Federal Statistical Office recently found that employees in eastern Germany working in the manufacturing and service sectors earned around 12.000 euros less than their western German counterparts in 2020.

The data reveals that employees working in the "old" (western) federal states earned an average gross salary of 48.974 euros, with 5.096 euros in additional payments. On the other side of the country, in the "new" (eastern) states, employees in the manufacturing and service sector received only 39.462 euros.

Western Germans also worked fewer hours than eastern Germans. According to Destatis, the average paid weekly working hours for western Germans was 37,9 hours in 2020, whereas eastern Germans worked 38,6 hours.

Women still earn less than men in Germany

The data also revealed a considerable wage gap between men and women; the national average salary for men in Germany was 55.095 euros in 2020 (including special payments), while women only earned 46.380 euros.

German men did work more hours than women - but only fractionally, with men working an average of 38,1 hours a week and women working 37,8 hours. There were also clear geographical differences between the working hours of German men and women. German men in the western states worked 38,0 hours compared to 38,7 hours for their eastern counterparts. Similarly, women in western Germany worked 37,7 hours, while women in eastern Germany worked 38,4 hours.

The Left calls for equal pay

Chairman of The Left, Dietmar Bartsch, has called for urgent changes to close the salary gap, including equal living conditions and fair recognition for employee performance. “The differences between East and West are unacceptable," he said. “East Germans are clearly neglected. That urgently needs to change.”

Left Politician Sören Pellmann has called on the new federal government to make the changes: "The goal must be that by 2025, at the end of the legislative period, wages between east and west are clearly aligned," he said.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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