Where in Germany do you earn the most (and the least)?

Where in Germany do you earn the most (and the least)?

Where in Germany do people command the highest salaries? Which are the best paying jobs? What is the wage gap between East and West Germany and where is the gender pay gap the greatest? The latest Salary Atlas is on hand to answer all of these questions, and more! 

Salary Atlas Germany 2019

Every year, the online careers portal analyses vast amounts of data on salaries in Germany to assemble their Salary Atlas (Gehaltsatlas), a fascinating insight into how industry, region and gender can influence an employee’s income. 

The 2019 Salary Atlas surveyed more than 490.000 individual data points to put together a series of rankings, including the best- and worst-paid jobs in Germany, best-paid regions and cities, and the states with the biggest gender pay gap. Here is a summary of the Atlas’ key findings. 

Best-paid jobs in Germany

As you might expect for people who are out saving lives every day, senior doctors are once again the highest-paid professionals in Germany. Here are the other jobs that made it to this year’s top 10, listed according to their median annual income.

  • 1. Senior physician - 115.317 euros
  • 2. Mergers & Acquisitions specialist - 99.635 euros
  • 3. Fund manager - 83.641 euros
  • 4. Medical specialist - 80.722 euros
  • 5. (Key) account manager - 75.671 euros
  • 6. Regional sales manager - 74.528 euros
  • 7. Actuary - 71.042 euros
  • 8. Sales manager - 67.699 euros
  • 9. Security trader - 64.784 euros
  • 10. Business developer - 62.551 euros

Worst-paid jobs in Germany

At the other end of the scale are kitchen workers in restaurants and hotels, which, according to this year’s Atlas, earn some of the lowest salaries of all. The median salary in this type of profession is almost 90.000 euros less than that of senior doctors. The other occupations with the smallest salaries are as follows:

  • 1. Kitchen worker - 21.907 euros
  • 2. Hairdresser - 23.202 euros
  • 3. Waiter / waitress - 23.619 euros
  • 4. Call centre worker - 25.200 euros
  • 5. Receptionist - 25.372 euros
  • 6. Cashier - 26.572 euros
  • 7. Cook - 27.195 euros
  • 8. Dental assistant - 27.993 euros
  • 9. Carer - 28.002 euros
  • 10. Commercial driver - 28.436

Hessians command the highest wages

It’s not just industry that has an effect on one’s salary - as the Atlas also makes clear, it also depends on which federal state you live in. Generally, employees in the southern states take home more money than their northern and eastern counterparts, but the overall highest wages are commanded in Hesse. 

In comparison to last year, Hesse increased its lead over the other federal states, with comparative wages in the central state rising 1,4 percentage points to 114,1 percent of the national average. Workers in Hesse enjoy average wages that are almost 39 percent higher than in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where the average salary is just 75,9 percent of the national average.   

Stuttgart is the most attractive state capital

Of all state capital cities in Germany, Stuttgart stands head and shoulders above the rest with a wage level of 124,8 percent of the national average. The city’s strong aerospace and automobile industry keeps salaries high. It is closely followed by Munich (124,4 percent), Düsseldorf (117,7 percent) and Wiesbaden (115,6 percent). 

The bottom of the list is entirely made up of state capitals in East Germany. Schwerin, capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, comes 16th with a wage level of 78,3 percent of the national average. Potsdam ranked 15th and Erfurt 14th, both with similar percentage levels. 

Wage gap between East and West shrinking

In the past two years the salary gap between East and West Germany has gradually narrowed. The gap is now 23,9 percent, 1,3 percentage points smaller than in 2017. The average salary in the West is now 47.320 euros, compared to 39.567 euros in the East. 

The gender pay gap is biggest in Baden-Württemberg

The study also looked for the first time at what is known as the unadjusted pay gap between men and women (which does not take other variables like working hours into account). This data showed that, overall, the gap is currently 22 percent in favour of men. 

Baden-Württemberg clearly has plenty of ground to make up when it comes to gender equality, because it has the largest gender pay gap in the country - a whopping 26,5 percent. The smallest gap - 16,4 percent - is to be found in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

You can read the full Salary Atlas 2019 report (in German) on the website.  



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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