Berliners earn less: A comparison of Germany’s salaries
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Berlin has a reputation for being a cheap city. But a lower cost of living only goes so far when you’re earning less than you might be elsewhere.

Berlin’s salaries are well below the German average, as research by Compensation-Online has shown. The income of employees working in the city are 7% below the German average and up to 21% lower than in the south of Germany, according to the recent study which assessed 400,000 salaries across Germany.

The wider area where postal codes start with the number one have the second lowest incomes in Germany, 11.6% below average. Individuals working outside Berlin in the city of Potsdam earn a further 9% less than those working in Berlin. Not only does a clear gap remain between east and west Germany, but Germany’s south also earns significantly more than the north.

The size of the company in which a person works is also a factor in income, according to the Compensation-Online survey. Salaries in Berlin are significantly higher in firms where there are less than 100 employees.

Munich residents make €10,000 more a year than Berliners

Germany’s most lucrative cities are Munich, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. According to Germany’s society for consumer research, the GfK Group, the average Berliner will earn €19,423 a year in 2014, almost ten thousand less than the typical Munich salary of €28,920.

Compensation-Online survey

The ranking of Germany’s state capitals according to average income. © Compensation-Online

Although Berlin is often thought of as a cheap city, the city’s cost of living has risen to 2.8% above the national German average.

Compared to Munich, rents in central Berlin are still about €5 cheaper per square metre, but in both cities around 23% of a person’s income is spent on rent, a further study has shown. At the same time, the costs of some items such as cinema tickets or a monthly public transport ticket are higher in Berlin.

Women in Berlin earn more

Together with education and place of residence, gender is still a major influence on salary in Germany. Germany’s gender wage gap is above the OECD average of 15%, with full-time male employees in Germany earning 20% more than women.

In contrast to the European norm, Berlin’s women earn 2% more than men. Similarly, women in Hamburg, Bavaria and eastern Germany also have marginally higher salaries than men.

The gender gap in Germany’s startup scene is far more extreme, with men earning between 11% and 26% more than women on a management level, as a Gründerszene survey has shown.

Higher education equals higher salary

The salaries of skilled labourers vary the most according from region to region. Electricians, for example, earn over 40% less in the north east of Germany than in the south west. Berlin’s IT specialists also earns less than the German-wide norm.

Individuals who went through Germany’s apprenticeship (Berufsausbildung) are more likely to earn less than employees with bachelor and master degrees. The more educated an employee, the smaller the influence of location on their salary.

Feature image: BERLIN GERMANY MAY 22: Street art by unknow artist on may 22 2010 in Berlin Germany. Since Berlin is a hub of Street Art a typical Berliner would probably not blink an eye at this type of paste up. via Shutterstock / copyright: meunierd

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