Salary in Berlin – this is how much you should get paid

Salary in Berlin is always a difficult topic to address. It’s hard to talk about it with your boss or with your fellow employees. In general, people also tend to keep the figure to themselves, probably because they are afraid of being underpaid, overpaid or even making other people jealous. I guess it depends on your cultural background as well. Where i come from, you tend to keep it to yourself.

However, this is wrong as it sometimes plays out in favor of the employer, who takes advantage of the lack of information to negotiate a lower salary than what you deserve. This post is aiming at correcting this in favor of you, the employee. Better informed, you will be in a better situation to negotiate your next wage or your next raise.

Incomplete information plays in favor of the employer during negotiation, so stay smart and do your research

Unfortunately, there won’t be the exact data fitting to your profile, field of expertise, level of experience, qualifications or diplomas. However, gathering a few figures will help you a lot to decide how much you should ask for. Try to think those as a way to put your self somewhere on a graph, like this :

salary in Berlin

All figures below are average yearly gross salaries.

How much experienced people should get paid in Berlin

A 2016 study by Stepstone, a leading job-board for skilled workers & managers, has revealed some interesting facts about current state of affairs depending on the industry. It gives away a simple fact already: a salary in Berlin is lower than the national average.

IndustryBerlin average (€)National average (€)
Engineers & Technical jobs49 73757 610
IT51 23357 862
Marketing42 93749 080
Sales46 03754 973
HR42 69452 618
Finance & Controlling48 97555 892
Purchasing & Logistics43 60250 788
Care & Therapy29 89533 446
Medical professions57 71764 110
Average All42 86552 000

Before you get spooked by the figures, bear in mind that those numbers are taken from relatively experienced profiles, including commissions & other additional bonuses.

What could explain such a gap in wages between Berlin & the rest of the country ?

Lower cost of living could be a reason (at least, it used to be the case). Also the city’s economy is more & more driven by start-ups which tend to pay employees less, mechanically reducing the average wage, especially for sales, marketing & HR. Let’s not forget the impact of expats such as us. There has been a massive influx of well educated profiles coming from abroad leading to an increased competition between applicants. An abundance of qualified workers tend to keep the average salary in Berlin down too. That holds true for other high-skilled workers coming from other parts of Germany as well.

How much junior profiles should get paid in Berlin

Are you only starting your career and looking for a junior position ? Another study from 2014 by the same company is having a closer look at the numbers for young professionals.

For junior roles with academic backgrounds, this is the average starting salary in Berlin:

IndustryBerlin average (€)
Engineers & Technical jobs41 933
IT41 933
Marketing31 106
Sales33 899
HR34 226
Finance & Controlling37 323
Purchasing & Logistics43 413
Average (All)37.760

Again here, bear in mind that those numbers are including commissions & other additional bonuses. The data is taken from profiles with less than 2 years of experience. No surprise here as well; the more technical your profile is, the better you chances are to get a good salary in Berlin at the end of the month.

For junior roles, the starting salaries are also more dependent on the size of the company

There is an additional component for young professionals to consider when starting your work life. The difference is of salary in Berlin is even greater depending on how big your company is. Bigger companies tend to agree to a higher starting salary as this other study from 2012 points out.

Company sizeAverage starting salary (€)
1 to 10 employees35 000
10-99 employees37 000
100 to 999 employees39 000
1000+ employees42 000

Those are nation-wide figures so apply the usual 10-15% decrease to obtain a Berlin-realistic value.

A 2016 study over 2000 respondents  by job portals Jobspotting & Berlin Startup jobs also uncovered the following matrix. It is a nice summary across experience and fields for working in start-ups in Berlin. Read more about the study here.

how much should i get paid in Berlin

How much should i get paid when i am developer

The excellent job matching platform for programmers has released a study in April 2018 focusing on tech jobs in Germany. There is data about Berlin too by maximum, average and minimum for different roles. Quite relevant stuff. The infographic is way too long to feature here but here is the original post. Here the key insights though:

  • Tech professionals with 8 or more years experience earn more on average in Berlin than they do in Hamburg.
  • On average, the highest paying tech role in Germany for engineers with 6 to 8 years experience is DevOps.
  • Developers with 0 to 2 years experience earn on average 43,300€ in Berlin, 49,400€ in Munich and 43,100€ in Hamburg.

How much should i get paid when i don’t speak German so well

This might get closer to a figure you had in the back of the mind. However, we have to dig a bit deeper here and not fool ourselves. We all know that when you don’t speak German fluently, the chances to get a good salary decrease a little bit more. The reason is simple; there are far more expats in Berlin that don’t speak German proficiently than expats who can indeed use German in the work place. As a result, even more people are fighting for those english-speaking-only jobs. (As mentioned here already: yes, the key to a real job & career is learning German.)

When you can’t use German in the workplace, the chances of a better wage will likely decrease

The closest data i could find to explore this particular sub-segment of people is a study from early 2016 made by another job-board In this study, we learn more what people who want to work in start-ups expect to earn. The data sample is albeit less reliable because it focuses on start-ups profiles only and it’s an Europa-wide study. However, many people coming to Berlin who don’t speak German often end-up working for start-ups, so it stays relevant to a certain degree.

Here are the findings for this group:

Experience LevelExpected salary (€)
Junior roles29 500
Senior roles39 800
Manager positions42 400
“Heads Of” positions61 000

The study doesn’t say if those people got the pay cheque they were asking for.

On a more personal note, a tip or two  :
  • I have had the opportunity in my career to be in the position of hiring workers, which leads me to give you the following observation :
    More often than you would think, applicants under-estimate their worth and set a lower salary expectation than what they could actually ask for. Just bear in mind that the figure you will ask during your interview is also a way for the recruiter to assess how your perceive your value, and whether or not you are confident in it.
  • Don’t get fooled by all the “perks” to compensate for a lower salary in Berlin. A free MacBook & all-you-can-eat breakfast do not replace a proper wage.
  • If some performance-based system is planned, make sure it’s also in the contract, with the right % or amount.
  • Equity sounds like a good deal, but sometimes is not. Trust this guy, he knows.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there is no single source to turn to so if you know one that’s relevant to Berlin & up-to-date, do let me know so i can add it here. I would also love your thoughts.

Why not posting in the comment section what you earn describing your role & level of experience & company size ? That might help others out.

Note : The minimum wage rule has been in place since 2015. At the time of writing this post, it’s too early to say the impact on your salary in Berlin, except that you can’t take a poorly paid internship anymore. Only enrolled students can do that now.

Sources : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Tip 1: If you want to make research on a particular company to know how much they pay their employees, you can use employer review website such as Glassdoor  and Kununu which has data from past and current employees as well as prospective candidates.


  • Reply anonymous 27/05/2020 at 02:01

    this place is a joke. don’t forget to factor in the crazy taxation!

  • Reply Nick 07/11/2019 at 19:12

    Yikes, how do people survive in Berlin on such awful salaries? Rents are going up a lot and salaries dont seem to be keeping pace. I considered staying in Berlin but these low low salaries make Berlin like San Francisco.

    • Reply E 12/10/2020 at 09:52

      I’ve lived in Berlin for a year, came with a full-time employment contract. I have a Bachelor and postgrad certificate in my field (no master). I am at “manager” level, but I don’t have a team under me. My starting salary was 60k – so I’m not really sure where this article got these prices for, but for anyone looking to move to Berlin, I think the key is looking at larger companies that are present in more than just Germany. There are plenty of jobs and the cost of living here is super low – so the quality of life is great. Cheers, E.

  • Reply Ema Nymton 06/06/2017 at 11:39

    Just a comment about German skills and salary based on personal experience.

    Unless you are required to interface with German customers/suppliers/contractors/etc, and all other things being equal, employers will end up taking the non-German speaking person because they don’t want to pay more for your German skills.

  • Reply Anonymous 17/05/2017 at 06:30

    People don’t talk about their salary because they’re not allowed to, contractually. That’s a standard clause (not just for start-ups).

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/05/2017 at 10:01

      That’s an interesting comment. I have never signed such contracts, didn’t know it existed. Is there a link to a standard contract template to illustrate this?

    • Reply Ema Nymton 06/06/2017 at 11:51

      I also find the whole concept of “Gehaltsvorstellung” pretty strange und unintuitive. When companies decide to hire, there is already a budget set aside so they know how much they can / want to pay you already. If market value / contractual obligations were really the problem they could post a range to set the applicants’ expectations.

      I guess the problem with posting the salary (range) could be that:

      1) If a current employee is getting paid lower than the budget amount, he might end up asking for more, or simply quit when a better offer comes along.
      2) There are always candidates who offer themselves at lower-than-budget/market salary.

    • Reply Sophie 12/01/2018 at 17:09

      I have to reply to this super-old comment because it is something that I am very passionate about.

      Yes, it often is in your contract but THAT IS ILLEGAL! Your employer is not allowed to do that by German law!
      There are certain exceptions like in the case of top managers. There it would be bad for the company if the competition knew their salary.
      But the usual employee is allowed to talk about their salary to anyone they want!

      • Reply Sophie 12/01/2018 at 17:11

        Employers do this specifically to prevent you from comparing your salaries.
        This way they can pay you way less then your co-workers and nobody will ever notice!

      • Reply Cassidy Hennigan 03/10/2018 at 16:42

        Yup. It amazes me how the whole “you’re not allowed to talk about your wage/salary” thing continues to this day when it’s just a flat lie. Interesting to see it’s not just a US phenomenon either.

      • Reply Fabian 24/11/2018 at 11:53

        Hey Sophie, do you have a source or specifics for this? I like the idea of organising _within_ companies to expose pay discrimination, but I’m not entirely sure if there’s legal protections for sharing your salary info with your colleagues, even if it’s expressly forbidden by the law.

    • Reply Adam 21/10/2019 at 11:15

      let’s start a discussion about why employees are legally prevented from sharing their salary information with others.

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/10/2019 at 21:55

        Hey Adam. Not in Germany; it’s allowed.

  • Reply Azeem 13/05/2017 at 07:23

    just out of curiosity, are we talking about gross wages here? please also explains what kinda deductions we expect from gross salary?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/05/2017 at 10:01

      Hi Azeem, as mentioned in the post: “All figures below are average yearly gross salaries.”. Deductions depend on your situation (kids, married, income, etc).

      • Reply Sara 26/11/2017 at 21:52

        Also for the junior data? I need a bit of help..I am applying for a job in a Stiftung, it’s an entry-level, the field is energy transition. I’m completely clueless on how much should I ask 😀 I have an MA.. Advice pls 🙂 (I have an internship and couple of months of work in a relevant insitution)

    • Reply Fens 12/10/2018 at 21:59

      For a decent salary, then 30% or more is gonna go in deductions.

  • Reply Monica Zaldivar 19/02/2017 at 11:48

    Kununu is also a good resource for checking the company beforehead – at least what former and actual employees say 🙂 But yes, it is almost all in German…

    I find your estimates pretty accurate actually, well done!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/02/2017 at 09:32

      Hi Monica. Thanks for the suggestion. I already mentioned Kununu elsewhere on the blog but didn’t put it here. It’s done now!

  • Reply Dragan 11/01/2017 at 21:11

    Stepstone research table seams correct, according to several people that I know in Berlin 🙂

    • Reply Usama Ahmed 08/03/2017 at 14:32

      I second you, the Berlin table is even valid for 2017. In my experience people applying for jobs should expect exactly the same amount otherwise they will not get the job.

      • Reply Prateek Manocha 01/12/2017 at 11:55

        Hi, I am being interviewed at a company in berlin for junior data engineer and i have experience of around 3 years… what can I expect as a salry. The INTERVIEWERS have accepted my caliber n knowledge is bit higher acc to the job profile but since its a junior position how much can i expect ?

        • Reply Fens 12/10/2018 at 22:02

          Prateek do your research yourself. You’re a “data engineer”, do you need help making a basic salary research? Or maybe your time is more important than ours?
          It’s funny “prateek” means “practical” in French but you are not very pratique.

  • Reply Guillermo Gutierrez de Velasco Schmidt 01/12/2016 at 18:37

    In my research about my potential salary, I’ve found the following website:

    As far as I’ve been able to tell it seems more or less accurate. I’ve gotten lost exploring my profession in different countries.

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