German Unity Day: Women in eastern Germany continue to earn more than men

Even after 32 years of German unity, there are still significant differences between east and west. For example, in eastern Germany, women’s median pay has already been above that of men for years. In the west the opposite is true. Overall, median pay continues to be substantially lower in eastern Germany than in the west. The fundamental trend is of decreasing differences – albeit only a slow decrease

01 Oct 2022 | Press release no.43

Women in eastern Germany earn more than the men

The median pay of full-time employees with social security contributions reached the 3,000 euros mark in eastern Germany for the first time in 2021 and is currently at 3,007 euros. Eastern German women earn 3,060 euros on average, 82 euros more than the men (2,978 euros). The higher median of women in full-time employment is reduced, however, by the high proportion of women in part-time employment all over Germany. Also in eastern Germany, almost half of women work part-time (49 percent).

In the west, in contrast, the situation is different: there the men earn on average 461 euros more than women and achieved a median pay of 3,787 euros in 2021.

The different median wages of men and women in the two regions are due to the different composition of their respective economies. In the western states there are far more large companies in the sectors dominated by a male workforce with corresponding pay rate structures, such as e.g. manufacturing. In eastern Germany, on the other hand, the proportion of women in sectors with negotiated wages is relatively high, e.g. in public administration and healthcare.

Trend: the gap is becoming smaller

Overall, wages and salaries showed stronger growth in the east than in the west in 2021: While median pay rose by 86 euros in the western states, full-time employees in eastern Germany enjoyed an increase of 117 euros. This means that the east-west gap in wages and salaries decreased again in 2021, though it still amounts to 619 euros. The year before, the gap was 650 euros. In 2017 the difference was 739 euros.

More information at: (Available in German)

Link to the pay atlas: (Available in German)