“Can you tell us about your salary expectations?” It’s that same dreaded question at the end of every job interview. What do you answer? 40k? 20 bob an hour? „One million dollars, mwahahah…“?
It’s never easy to guess how much budget a company has set aside for your position. But there’s one thing it helps to know. How much is a fair wage for a web designer in Berlin?
But before you can answer that, you need to know exactly what kind of web designer you are. How much experience do you have and are you freelance or full-time.
You know HTML? So what.
Web design is a craft. And like every other craft, the better your training, the more valuable the craftsperson. Major cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne are overrun with amateur creatives that have taught themselves the basics of Photoshop and HTML.
German employers tend be stricter when it comes to that proper education, meaning that a web design BA student will usually be picked over anyone else with a less relevant degree, even if they have the same skills. In the end, nothing beats the combination of a kick-ass portfolio, a website or LinkedIn profile and a web design degree.
I’ve been looking for freelance work…
Let’s face it. You didn’t come to Berlin to work. You came here to explore the city and soak up the creative atmosphere. And you can’t do that when you’re stuck in an office for 10 hours a day. In theory, freelancers are free to pick when you work and who you work for. But before you establish your network, you’ll be taking whatever jobs you can get.
Professional freelance web designers in Germany typically receive an hourly wage between €50 and €70. Depending on the client, the salary can go even higher, but hourly rates above €100 are rare, even the stuff of legend.
But unfortunately freelance wages can, and often do, go a lot lower than that. Due to the sheer level of competition in Berlin, fully educated designers can often be forced to take €20 per hour.
Any professional web designer that has enough clients can expect to earn between €48,000 to €72,000 annually, before tax and insurance.
How much does a full-time web designer earn?
Depending on the employee’s experience, a full-time web designer will earn between €2,000 and €3,000 monthly, but this can be far lower for unqualified designers and working students. The average starting wage for young web designer in Berlin is €27,830 annually and €30,000 for designers with experience, according to gehalt.de.
In Berlin you might be earning more than in any other East-German state, but your counterparts in the south of Germany will be earning an average of around €4,000 more a year. Sadly, gender still makes a difference in salary, and Berlin’s female web designers in Berlin earn an average of €700 less per year than their male colleages.
Startup salaries are typically lower and often come with plenty of overtime, but then again, you might just be working for the next SoundCloud.
Feature image: Flat design modern vector illustration lifestyle concept of handsome man in casual T-shirt sitting at the desk and working on laptop in the office. Isolated on stylish colored background via Shutterstock / copyright: bloomua