Salary check: what the Germans earn and how much they save

The amount of gainful employment depends heavily on the industry in which they work.

The amount of gainful employment depends heavily on the industry in which they work.

Pakin Songmor / Getty Images

So far, 2020 has been anything but rosy for the German economy due to the Corona crisis. While many workers struggle with lost income, job seekers often come across closed doors. In many industries there is currently hardly any hiring.

It is especially in this period that it is worth comparing the average monthly earnings in various industries. Because there are sometimes serious differences, as the figures from the Federal Statistical Office show.

Top earners in the oil and gas industry

According to the Federal Statistical Office, a person working full-time earned an average of EUR 3,994 gross per month in 2019. This corresponds to an annual salary of 47,928 euros. But this number should be treated with caution. It is an arithmetic mean. Particularly high incomes raise this value.

Therefore, it makes sense to look at the average salaries by industry. This shows that especially the energy supply, information and communication industry, as well as financial and insurance service providers offer their employees a full monthly salary. Employees earned an average of between € 5,137 and € 5,393 gross per month here last year.

An even more detailed look at these industries shows strong differences between the respective professional groups. This means that employees in the field of oil and natural gas extraction are best placed overall. On average there is a monthly salary of 6,748 euros. In the coking and petroleum processing industry, full-time workers receive an average of 6,124 euros gross per month. Management consultants also earn very well with a gross monthly salary of EUR 5,699.

Systemically important occupations earn less than the average

In contrast, the earnings of full-time employees in the catering industry look poor. There is only 2,480 euros gross per month. And even employees who professionally deal with the placement and hiring of workers have to make do with little income. There is an average of only 2,460 euros gross.

A further list shows that occupational groups that are considered systemically important in the Corona crisis often earn less than the average. The average earnings of specialists in the food retail trade in 2019 are 2,186 euros. Specialists who work in old people’s homes earned an average of 3,116 euros gross per month. Full-time specialists working in hospitals received an average of 3,502 euros gross per month.

In addition to these gross salaries, there are also special payments – for example in the form of holiday and Christmas bonuses. The level of earnings in the respective industries also depends on the individual characteristics of the employees. University graduates usually earn more. And the income usually increases with age, explains the Federal Statistical Office.

Gender pay gap at 20 percent in 2019

In addition to the strong contrast between the sectors, the figures also show that women in Germany still earn significantly less than men. The unadjusted gender pay gap is estimated at 20 percent for 2019.

It is striking that the wage gap in the new federal states is much smaller (seven percent) than in the old federal states (21 percent). The unadjusted gender pay gap is the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women in relation to the gross earnings of men.

Disagreement about saving behavior of the Germans in the Corona crisis

Experts are still divided on how much money Germans will save during the corona crisis. A survey by Norisbank, which reported elsewhere, showed that many Germans will not be able to put money on the high edges this year due to the economic consequences of the Corona crisis.

On the other hand, a study by the DZ-Bank, about which the ARD reported, comes to the conclusion that the Germans are saving more this year than they have been since 1992. According to this, the proportion of saved income in disposable income is likely to grow from 10.9 percent last year to 12.5 percent this year. Probably because they had little opportunity to spend money during the corona restrictions.


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