What Is A Good Salary in Germany?

Nov 10, 2021Guides, Living in Germany, Salaries, Work in Germany

How much will you earn in Germany? This is one of the most common questions people consider when moving to Germany for work. The German economy is thriving. Hence, it needs many foreign workers, and it’s ready to pay them well. After all, German salaries are among the highest in the EU.

In Germany, the net monthly salary between 2,500 EUR and 3,000 EUR is good, and over 3,500 EUR is very good. The average gross wage in Germany in 2021 is 56,985 EUR or 34,126 EUR after-tax for a single person. This translates to the 2,843 EUR net monthly salary.

Since Germany is Europe’s biggest economy and one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, it can provide a good level of income for its residents. If you wonder whether your future salary in Germany is good enough, this article will clarify your doubts.

What Is a Good Salary in Germany in 2021?

In Germany, a monthly net income between 2,500 EUR and 3,500 EUR is considered to be a good salary. You can afford a decent life in a large German city with that income, including renting a 2 bedroom apartment, regularly eating out, and weekends away.

Furthermore, the annual gross salary above 50,000 EUR is considered to be good in Germany.

Since Germans don’t discuss money and income openly, it can be hard to find out how much they make. Moreover, gross salary is far away from net income. This can make an impression that you will earn a lot of money, but the amount will be much less after taxes.

Most of the German population belongs to the stable middle class, with a small percentage of people earning above and belong the average. This way, the country maintains equality in society.

Furthermore, the German welfare system won’t leave anyone in the street and will make sure one has everything for their livelihood. Additionally, citizens benefit from free healthcare and education.

Overall, a very good annual average salary in Germany is between 64,000 EUR and 81,000 EUR.

The highest income in Germany has been seen among couples without children and couples with grown-up kids, who already left the house to live independently.

In such cases, a net household income of 5,160 EUR is widespread, considered more on the upper side.

People with an annual income of over 80,000 EUR or 6,600 EUR monthly belong to the minority.

What will influence your salary level in Germany?

1. Educational background

Education counts the most in Germany, where academics have a particularly high chance of getting a decent salary in Germany.

The median income of university graduates is 2,541 EUR.

People with no educational background, meaning with zero qualifications, live just above the poverty level.

2. Experience

Similar to education, your past experience matter. Candidates with rich experience behind but without sufficient academic credits can compete with university graduates for higher wages.

3. Gender

Furthermore, men in Germany can earn on average nearly 21% more than women, yet in most cases, the difference is less significant.

4. Location

In Germany, your salary will also depend on which city and region you are in. Significant differences in income levels have been seen between East and West Germany.

The average gross monthly income of the household is 5,086 EUR in West Germany and 3,927 EUR in East Germany.

According to statistics, you will earn the highest salary when working and living in the Baden-Württemberg region. Local companies offer about 8% more than the national average. At the same time, executive professionals make the most in Frankfurt.

Moreover, employees in the western state Hessen earn on average 55% more than their counterparts in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

What your life will look like with a good level of monthly income (3,000 EUR net) in Berlin, Germany. 3,000 EUR net per month averages in an annual gross salary of about 60,000 EUR. It’s a realistic salary for most academics with a few years of experience.

  1. Housing: You can rent 2 bedroom apartment in the city centre (1,500 EUR), utilities will cost you another 150 EUR and 35 EUR for the internet.
  2. Groceries and food: 500 – 600 EUR – you can afford more expensive organic food.
  3. Disposal income per month: 715 EUR for closing and shoes, personal items, eating out, entertainment, weekend trips, yearly holidays, etc.
  4. You can afford a more expensive hobby.
  5. You can go on holidays more often – 2 or 3 holidays a year, including a more long-haul destination or a week long winter sport vacation.
  6. You also can spend many weekends away.
  7. Saving: you will be able to put away at least few hundred EUR.

Gross vs Net

Gross salary differs from net income. Overall, taxes and social security contributions are around 35% – 50% of the employee’s salary in Germany.

Hence, the annual salary of 50,000 EUR will leave you around 30,800 EUR per year or 2,560 EUR per month, where about 38,4% of the income goes to taxes. This tax rate applies to singles.

Nonetheless, with that salary, you can live a good middle-income life enjoying your weekends and traveling short distances for getaways.

To learn how much taxes you will pay in Germany, read this comparison between taxes in US and Germany.

Also read: What is a good salary in Austria?

Salaries in Germany

In Germany, an average employee earns around 57,000 EUR per year.

Salaries range by up to 19,000 EUR depending on location. It also makes a big difference if you work in a small company and a large corporation.

Minimum wage in Germany

In 2021, the minimum wage in Germany is 9,60 EUR per hour or 1,585 EUR per month, while the median annual income is 43,200 EUR.

Wages in Germany, of course, depend on the job. Here are some examples of how much someone makes in different positions and industries in Germany.

Starting from the bottom – a cleaner, waiter, or cashier at a supermarket makes around 28,700 EUR annually on average or 2,300 EUR per month. Most casual, low-skilled jobs are low-paid.

A secretary makes around 34,700 EUR per year or 2,900 EUR per month. A kindergarten teacher earns 3,320 EUR gross per month, and a high school teacher gets 3,900 EUR gross on average.

A project manager in a middle-sized company earns around 56,600 EUR annually or 4,700 EUR per month. An accountant makes on average around 41,000 EUR annually or 3,400 EUR gross monthly.

Doctors are among the highest-paying jobs in Germany. For example, a radiologist earns 84,000 EUR per year on average, which comes to 7,000 EUR per month.

Furthermore, managing directors can enjoy the highest salary across the country – 174,600 EUR annually on average or 14,550 EUR monthly.

Below you can see the income distribution of German residents. Only 1,56% of the population makes over 125k per year. Consequently, Germany has much fewer high earners than some other developed countries.

Gross annual incomeAmount of taxpayers%
Income above 1.000.000 €15.5670.04 %
500.000 € – 1.000.000 €34.9290.10%
250.000 € – 500.000 €139.7850.38 %
125.000 € – 250.000 €568.9901.56 %
100.000 € – 125.000 €451.7151.24 %
90.000 € – 100.000 €316.2070.87 %
80.000 € – 90.000 €461.9931.27 %
70.000 € – 80.000 €692.2561.90 %
60.000 € – 70.000 €1.097.3323.01 %
50.000 € – 60.000 €1.883.4985.17 %
45.000 € – 50.000 €1.422.6013.90 %
40.000 € – 45.000 €1.845.9225.07 %
35.000 € – 40.000 €2.412.6346.62 %
30.000 € – 35.000 €2.975.4418.17 %
25.000 € – 30.000 €3.273.9648.98 %
20.000 € – 25.000 €3.484.6639.56 %
15.000 € – 20.000 €3.749.55910.29 %
10.000 € – 15.000 €4.071.97411.17 %
5.000 € – 10.000 €3.624.2449.95 %
1 € – 5.000 €3.195.7978.77 %
Negative income719.9091.98 %

Check salaries in Germany yourself

Use this free tool to check average salaries in Germany. You can add filters like location, experience, skills, size of the company, and others to see the most accurate numbers!

Average salary in Germany

StepStone Salary Report 2021 (Stepstone Gehaltsreport 2021) has indicated the average gross salary in Germany as 56,985 EUR annually or 4,748 EUR monthly. 

Whereas the average gross household income in Germany is 4,846 EUR per month, the income of single people households is 2,812 EUR. 

The average gross monthly income of the household is 5,086 EUR in West Germany and 3,927 EUR in East Germany.

More numbers from statistics

Figures from the Federal Statistical Office show that a full-time employee in Germany earned an average of 3,975 EUR gross per month in 2020.

At the same time, in 2019, this number was 3,994 EUR, and in 2009 – only 3,141 EUR.

It doesn’t include possible additional payments such as Christmas or vacation bonuses. On average, employees receive one monthly income as a Christmas bonus.

The average salary of all employees in Germany – including marginal employment and part-time work – is 3,099 EUR in 2021 (source: Statista).

However, around two-thirds (or 66%) of Germans receive lower than the national average of 3,975 EUR gross monthly salaries.

And only about one-third (34%) receive a salary above the average. Therefore, this group of people naturally increases the calculation of the national average wage. Hence, you should be careful when looking at those numbers. Don’t get fooled.

Average salary for specialists in Germany

The online job portal Stepstone analyzed the salaries of specialists and managers in Germany. According to this, a specialist earns an average of 57,000 EUR gross annually.

Read about the average salary for software engineers in Germany.

Average salary for managers

A higher position means a higher salary. The average salary of the typical manager is 4,898 EUR gross per month or 58,785 EUR per year.

Average salary for graduates

The average salary for graduates is also reasonable level. Here you can see that university degrees pay off in Germany.

The average salary for a university graduate is 3,736 EUR monthly or 44,836 EUR annually.

Only one-third of the population earns above the average salary
The Federal Statistical Office also confirms that only 30% of all employees make more than average. The majority earn less.

Hence, if you earn over 55,000 EUR in Germany, you shouldn’t feel underpaid.

The average salary in Germany in 2021 in different industries:

ProfessionAvg. Gross salary (2021)
Medicine (doctors)€89,000
Finance€73,000
Lawyer€68,000
Business Advice€64,000
Banking€62,000
Engineer€62,000
IT€60,000
Marketing, PR€60,000
Production€60,000
Distribution and Sales€59,000
HR€58,000
Construction€57,000
Research€56,000
Logistics€50,000
Design€48,000
Architect€45,000
Nurse€35,000
Physiotherapist€28,000
Cook€25,000
Waiter€21,000
Minimum wage€18,000

Also read: Average salary of the mechanical engineer in Germany.

In the table below, you can see the average salary depending on the years of experience. 

Years of ExperienceAvg. Gross salary (2021)
Less than 1 year€38.932
1-2 years€41.518
3-5 years€48.058
6-10 years€56.229
11-25 years€66.686
25+ years€67.480

Furthermore, education is very valuable for your career in Germany. So academics receive an average salary of 58,058 EUR, whereas non-academics enjoy 49,346 EUR. 

Master degree holders can expect to make 61,906 EUR, compared to those with a bachelor’s degree who earn 54,210 EUR on average. 

Average salary Germany vs other countries

Germany is far away from being a leader for average salaries in Europe in general, but it holds high rankings among EU states.

RankingCountryAverage disposable income after taxes in 2020
1.Liechtenstein64.240 Euro
2.Switzerland41.998 Euro
3.Luxemburg34.119 Euro
4.Island28.155 Euro
5.Norway25.699 Euro
6.Danemark 25.176 Euro
7.Austria23.585 Euro
8.Germany22.388 Euro
9.Irland21.030 Euro
10.Schweden20.882 Euro
16.Italy16.439 Euro
 Europa general13.894 Euro
17.Spain13.613 Euro
28.Poland7.143 Euro
42.Ukraine1.703 Euro

Check salaries in Germany yourself

Use this free tool to check average salaries in Germany. You can add filters like location, experience, skills, size of the company, and others to see the most accurate numbers!

Is 60,000 EUR a good salary in Germany?

In Germany, the salary of 60,000 EUR is slightly higher than the national average, and about 18% of the population has this or higher income.

With a gross annual salary of 60,000 EUR, as a single, you will get about 5,000 EUR monthly or 2,969 EUR after tax. It’s a good income for a single person.

60,000 EUR is the wage of skilled and qualified professionals and someone with several years of experience.

How much should you earn in order to apply for a German resident permit?

Is 80,000 EUR a good salary in Germany?

In Germany, the salary of 80,000 EUR is far above the average, and only a minority of people have an income of that level.

With a gross annual salary of 80,000 EUR, as a single, you will get about 6,600 EUR monthly or 3,729 EUR after tax. It’s a high income for a single person.

80,000 EUR is a wage of top high-qualified personnel or someone with years of experience, and approximately only 3% of people have this salary.

Highest paying jobs in Germany

According to the Stepstone analysis, doctors earn the highest salaries in Germany – on average, 89,500 gross per year.

The second place belongs to investment consultants, controllers, and other financial experts, with annual salaries of 73,800 EUR a year.

The third professional group earning far above average is lawyers. A law degree in Germany will give you an average income of 68,600 EUR.

Below you can see a report made Salary Atlas in 2021. The highest paying jobs have been ranked by median income and the average salary for each job you can see in brackets.

  1. Head of physicians – €196,251 (€212,808)
  2. Senior physician – €121,748 (€129,697)
  3. Sales control / Sales management – €94,796 (€103,836)
  4. Regional sales manager – €90,812 (€96,868)
  5. Commercial manager – €90,661 (€101,900)
  6. IT manager – €88,610 (€96,076)
  7. Fund manager – €83,641
  8. (Key) account manager – €75,671
  9. Regional sales manager – €74,528

Source: iamexpat.de

Top paying industries

The industry has a significant influence on your salary level in Germany. According to the Federal statistics, employees in the financial and insurance sector have had the highest income in 2020 of 80,030 EUR excluding special payments.

That was followed by the energy supply industry with 71,738 EUR on average. The lowest salary receives workers in hospitality – only about 25,705 EUR.

In the table below you can detailed overview of salaries in different German industries:

SectorAverage monthly salary, EUR
Financial and insurance services5,602
Information and communication5,248
Energy supply5,218
Professional, scientific and technical services4,933
Education4,650
Real estate4,271
Manufacturing4,271
Public administration, defense and social security4,091
Mining and quarrying4,083
Manufacturing industry 4,062
Arts and recreation3,871
Retail3,735
Water supply3,617
Construction3,540
Transport3,164

Top paying regions

Here are top paying German regions:

  1. Baden-Württemberg – 46,620 EUR
  2. Hesse – 46,329 EUR
  3. Hamburg – 45,571 EUR
  4. Bavaria – 45,124 EUR
  5. North Rhine-Westphalia – 43,829 EUR

Furthermore, these German cities pay the most to the skilled workers and executives:

  1. Stuttgart – 54,012 EUR
  2. Munich – 53,662 EUR
  3. Düsseldorf – 50,626 EUR
  4. Wiesbaden – 49,611 EUR
  5. Hamburg – 45,780 EUR
  6. Frankfurt for financial professionals

Highest paying jobs aren’t almost the easiest to get. Jobs in high demand are more suitable for foreigners. Check out the most demanded jobs in Germany in 2021.

Wondering how much is the average salary for your profession? Check the Gehalt.de – the best German resource which provides information on all wages in the country. You can add filters like location, experience, skills, size of the company, and others to see the most accurate numbers!

Another article you might like: salaries in Germany vs US

Average expenses with average salary

Now you know how much approximately you will make, but what about living expenses? According to the Federal Statistics Office, German households spend an average of €2,704 per month, where €908 goes to housing, energy, and maintenance.

Most Germans spend around €356 on groceries, €351 on transport, and €284 on leisure per month.

There is a significant difference between German regions and cities regarding the cost of living, where the South is always more expensive, whereas the East is cheaper. 

Thus, you can expect to pay around €400-€500 for a room in central Berlin and about €600-€700 for a room in central Munich. 

Housing

The average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment is €700.

One-bedroom apartment rent in the largest German cities:

  •  Leipzig €512
  •  Cologne €730
  •  Stuttgart €857
  •  Berlin €879
  •  Frankfurt €901
  •  Hamburg €911
  •  Munich €1,125

Utilities

Utility prices can be high in Germany, especially in the winter months, when you use heating. Furthermore, Germany is the 10th most expensive in the world when it comes to utilities.

Your monthly bills include: 

  • electricity
  • water
  • heating 
  • garbage

On average, the total utilities can be about €210 per month.

Groceries

In Germany average household spends 414 EUR on shopping for food and drinks. 

Eating out

Average German eats out in a restaurant 136 times a year. The average spending for eating out for one person rages between 147 EUR and 226 EUR per month. 

When taking the average cost of the meal and one drink – 10-15 EUR (food) + 3-5 EUR (drink), it will come to around 13*136=1,768 EUR yearly on a low end or 20*136= 2,720 EUR yearly on a high end. 

Health care

In Germany, everyone with public health insurance pays the same amount, which is 14,6% of the gross monthly salary. The employer contributes half of it. Therefore, workers pay only 7,8% of their gross income.

For instance, someone with a gross salary of 50,000 EUR will pay 608 EUR per month for public insurance

Students pay a fixed rate of around 110 EUR. 

However, the private insurance rate isn’t based on income and varies from provider to provider. As a result, you might save a buck by getting private coverage instead of public. 

Furthermore, you almost never have to pay additionally from your budget when using health insurance. It covers your medical bill completely in nearly 100% of the cases.

Expenses with an average gross monthly income of 4,748 EUR/2,843 EUR net in 2021:

  • Rent 1,400 EUR
  • Internet + phone 60 EUR
  • Transportation 100 EUR
  • Food 400 EUR
  • Shoes and clothing 130 EUR
  • Household, miscellaneous 100 EUR
  • Entertainment, recreation, culture 300 EUR
  • Total spending: 2,490 EUR
  • Total remains: 353 EUR

In the end, you will also have some money left for savings and leisure.

Taxes in Germany

Before you make any conclusions about salaries in Germany, you need to understand how much of it goes to taxes and social security funds.

Germany has a progressive personal income tax rate starting from 0% and ending at 45% (see below).

Personal Income Tax Rates in Germany in 2021

Singles (EUR)Tax Rate
0 – 9,7440%
9,744 – 57,91814% to 42%
57,918 – 274,61242%
Above 274,61245%

Total tax and social security contributions deductions for German employees are high. You will pay between 35% and 45% of your monthly income. Where:

  1. Income taxes – between 14% to 45%
  2. Health insurance – 14,6% of your gross salary in total (paid half by you and half by the employer)
  3. Retirement insurance is levied at 19,6% of gross salary, of which half is paid by the employer and half by the employee
  4. Church tax – between 8% and 9%
  5. Solidarity surcharge – 5,5%
  6. Unemployment insurance – 3% (paid half by you and half by the employer)

Read in-depth tax comparison Germany vs US.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Germany?

How much money you need to live comfortably comes to the cost of living. Generally, you can live comfortably on between 1,500 EUR – 2,000 EUR, depending on the location and your personal situation.

As practice shows, students need much less than working individuals. A 1,000 EUR – 1,500 EUR budget is comfortable enough for a college student, whereas workers want to have between 2,000 EUR – 3,000 EUR in disposable income.

  1. Living: room 250 EUR – 500 EUR, apartment 500 EUR-1,500 EUR
  2. Health insurance: 100 EUR for students
  3. Phone/Internet/TV: 50 EUR
  4. Food: 400 EUR
  5. Clothes, shoes, hairdresser, free time: 200 EUR
  6. Miscellaneous: 100 EUR

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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