Women earned 20% less than men in Germany in 2019

Women earned 20% less than men in Germany in 2019

Despite Germany’s gender pay gap narrowing in recent years, a study shows that women in Germany earned 20 percent less than men in 2019.

Unequal pay in Germany

According to a study published ahead of Germany’s “Equal Pay Day,” women earned 20 percent less than men in 2019. The study, which was undertaken by the Bertelsmann Foundation with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the Free University of Berlin, revealed that in 2019, women earned 17,72 euros an hour on average while men earned 22,16 euros.

The average difference between men and women’s hourly salary in 2019 was 4,44 euros, which is a slight drop from 4,51 euros the year before. This amounts to a drop of about 1 percent in the gender pay gap from 2018 to 2019.

To obtain these figures, the German Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, used the unadjusted gender pay gap. This only takes into account employee gender and not age, level of education or work experience when comparing the wages of employees in Germany.

Women’s lifetime earnings half that of men’s

The study also revealed figures for the Gender Lifetime Earnings Gap. In western Germany, men earn almost 1,5 million euros over the course of their career, while women only earn around 830.000 euros. This is a gap of about 45 percent. In the eastern part of the country, men earn around 1,1 million euros on average, while women earn around 660.000 euros - a gender pay gap of around 40 percent.

In terms of general wages, the gender pay gap in the east of Germany is around three times lower than in the western states. In the eastern states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, the pay gap was around 7 percent. In the other German states, including Berlin, the gap was at 21 percent.

The gender pay gap is narrowing

Since 2006, the gender pay gap in Germany has narrowed slightly, from 23 percent to 20 percent. The reason for this slow rate of decline is manifold.

Women tend to work fewer hours than men and are more likely to work part-time, as they still spend more time than men on childcare and housekeeping. In addition, jobs and industries with a traditionally or predominantly female workforce are usually paid less.

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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