Remuneration of full-time employees again on the upswing

• Median remuneration climbed in 2021 to 3,516 euros • Gender pay gap is dwindling, but still amounts to 373 euros • Disparity between western and eastern Germany has become less pronounced, but still stands at 619 euros • Highest wages in Hamburg, lowest in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

20 Jul 2022 | Press release no.34

Last year, the median remuneration of all full-time employees subject to social security contributions amounted to EUR 3,516. Compared to 2020, wages and salaries have thus risen by 89 euros, proving that whilst there was only a minor increase in 2020, the upward trend now follows the pattern of previous years. Median remuneration denotes the median pay of all full-time employees throughout the field.

Pay according to gender

Whereas the median remuneration among men was EUR 3,649, women only earned EUR 3,276. This constituted a discrepancy of 373 euros, showing a drop compared to 2020 of 21 euros. In 2017, the gap in wages and salaries was still 452 euros.

Federal states: earnings highest in Hamburg, and lowest in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

The highest median remuneration of full-time employees was that of Hamburg (EUR 3.962), Baden-Württemberg (EUR 3,843 Euro) and Hesse (EUR 3,799 Euro). In Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (EUR 2,785 Euro), Thuringia (EUR 2,807 Euro) and Saxony-Anhalt (EUR 2,855), median earnings were lowest.

Disparity between western and eastern Germany is dwindling

For the first time, the median remuneration in eastern Germany surpassed the threshold of EUR 3,000 to EUR 3,007, but is still EUR 619 lower than wages and salaries in western Germany, where the median income was EUR 3,626. In 2020, the difference was 650 euros, and in 2017, 739 euros.

Increase in all sectors of industry

Whereas earnings dropped in 2020 in some branches due to the pandemic, last year they increased in all sectors of industry. The highest increases were in IT & Communications Technology (+154 euros), Qualified Services (+138 euros), and Health (+127 euros). The lowest pay increases were registered in Household Goods Manufacturing (including the production of foodstuffs or clothing: +62 euros), in Public Administration (+67 euros) as well as in the Metal & Electrical sector (+68 euros).

Remuneration atlas with results according to occupations

At the same time, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) updated its Remuneration Atlas, where earnings according to all occupations can be consulted.

Link: (available in German)

Remuneration in the 2017-2021 time series according to gender, national and federal state level (available in German)

Remuneration in the 2017-2021 time series according to branches of industry (available in German)

Methodical notes
The BA discloses median earnings rather than "average pay" in a narrower sense. Furthermore, only full-time employees are assessed. The data is based on employer social security reports. Because wages and salaries are only reported up to the upper earnings limit of the statutory pension system, which in the previous year was EUR 7,100 in western Germany, and EUR 6,700 in eastern Germany, we do not know the actual earnings of all employees. The BA therefore displays the median remuneration, meaning that half of the employees receive a wage or salary below this median, and the other half above this level. The BA always registers earnings by the reporting date of 31 December for all full-time employees.