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Salary in Germany – How to Negotiate & Calculate Your “Netto”

Expatrio 2024-06-17


So, you're thinking about moving to Germany to live and work. One of the first things you're probably wondering is how much you'll earn and what you'll have left after all the deductions. In this article, we explain how to calculate your net salary. Also, we show how to effectively negotiate your salary, so that you have more left over at the end of the month.

Average salary in Germany

As of 2024, the average gross monthly salary for full-time employees is approximately €4,100, which translates to around €49,200 annually​. Salaries in Germany significantly differ based on the location. The city of Munich for instance offers an average annual salary of €58,000, while Berlin's average is €50,000​. Higher-paying professions include medical specialists, software engineers, and data scientists, with salaries ranging from €60,000 to €100,000 per year.

In Germany, salaries can be negotiated individually with the company or collectively for the entire sector. There are many collective wage agreements that set out how much people in different industries and professions should be paid. These agreements are negotiated between trade unions and employers' associations, providing greater transparency on pay. If your employer is bound by a collective agreement, you'll know exactly what your minimum earnings will be.

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Minimum wage in Germany

There are legal minimum wage requirements, which ensure that every worker receives at least a certain hourly wage. The minimum is updated regularly and is currently € 12,41 (as of 2024). The next increase will be a further 41 cents on January 1, 2025 to € 12,82.

Average wage in Germany at Amazon & Google

In Germany, your salary can vary quite a bit depending on the industry you work in. Here's a quick look at the average salary prospects by field for graduates.

Many people are curious about the average salaries at big names like Google and Amazon. Here's what the average salary is at Google in Germany:

  • Software Engineer: € 80,000 - € 135,450 (base salary: € 88,000, additional compensation: € 48,000)
  • Senior Software Engineer: € 117,750 - € 221,500 (base salary: € 115,000, additional compensation: € 91,512)
  • Product Manager: € 71,250 - € 144,125 (base salary: € 102,500, additional compensation: € 63,250
  • Sales Manager: € 60,000 - € 215,000 (base salary: € 85,000, additional compensation: € 37,500)
  • Staff Software Engineer: € 286,000 - € 320,000 (base salary: € 145,000, additional compensation: €147,500)

Typical salaries at Amazon in Germany are as follows:

  • Area Manager: € 50,002 - € 65,259 (base salary: € 52,000, additional compensation: € 9,550)
  • Warehouse Worker: € 24,000 - € 25,200 (base salary: € 25,200, additional compensation: € 400)
  • Brand Specialist: € 49,789 - € 63,000 (base salary: € 50,000, additional compensation: €11,500)
  • Shift Manager: € 50,000 - € 61,000 (base salary: € 50,000, additional compensation: €10,000)
  • Software Engineer: € 62,250 - € 98,367 (base salary: € 70,000, additional compensation: € 15,800)
  • Software Development Engineer: € 66,000 - € 94,500 (base salary: € 68,250, additional compensation: € 16,000)

Brutto & Netto: Calculate net income in Germany

Just knowing your “Bruttolohn” (= gross salary) isn't enough. You also need to know your “Nettolohn” ( = how much actually ends up in your account). Your net salary is the amount you actually receive after taxes and social security contributions have been taken out.

These include:

  • income tax
  • social security tax (health insurance, pension, unemployment, long term care)
  • church tax (if applicable)
  • solidarity surcharge (for certain income groups)

The average percentage of tax withheld from German salaries is typically between 30% and 45%. The exact percentage can vary significantly depending on individual factors such as gross income, tax class, marital status, number of dependents, and specific deductions or allowances to which the individual may be entitled.

You can find more detailed information on this topic in our article about social security & taxes.

If you're now wondering how to calculate the net salary in Germany, we've got some good news for you. You don't need to go back to the old-fashioned way of doing things with pen and paper. There are some great online tools that can help you.

Netto/Brutto calculator for Germany

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to calculate your net salary, there are plenty of online calculators that can help. These calculators take into account all relevant deductions and taxes, so you can get a good idea of how much you will actually receive each month. Some recommended tools include:

Just enter your gross salary and select your tax class and other relevant info if necessary. The tool does the rest and calculates your take-home-pay.



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How to negotiate a good salary in Germany

Salary negotiations can be nerve-wracking for most people, and it gets even worse if you're new to a country. However, the more you prepare for the salary negotiation, the more confident you'll be, and the better your chances of getting the salary you want.

Here’s what you can do to prepare for the upcoming salary negotiation.

  • Begin by conducting comprehensive research on industry standards and salary benchmarks specific to your role, experience level, and geographic location within Germany. Utilize resources such as salary surveys, industry reports, and job portals to gather accurate data. Exemplary useful sites may be Glassdoor or Statistisches Bundesamt.


  • Compile a list of your qualifications, skills, and notable achievements that demonstrate your value to potential employers. Be ready to articulate how your contributions can positively impact the company's objectives and performance.


  • Figure out what you want to earn and then go for it. Set a target salary and start the negotiation with an amount that's a little higher. This will give you room to negotiate. Also, consider the significance of benefits and non-monetary compensation, which are often a matter of negotiation. These may include pension schemes, professional development opportunities, gym allowances, employee product discounts, and company cars or bikes. Be prepared to discuss these aspects and negotiate them as part of your overall compensation package.

Do's and Don'ts for salary negotiations

Do's Dont's
Research industry salary standards
Engage in discussions about your previous salary
Prepare thoroughly and highlight your skills and achievements
Exaggerate or make false statements
Be punctual and well-dressed
Be too humble – don't undersell yourself
Practice confident communication and stay polite and professional
Neglect benefits and perks
Listen actively and ask questions
Refuse to compromise
Be open to negotiation
Burn bridges if negotiations fail



6 tips for successful salary negotiations in Germany

  1. Show confidence and professionalism. Make sure you know what you're good at and what you're worth, and make sure your potential employer knows too. For instance, you can draw attention to and back them up with relevant examples.

  2. Be clear and direct when you communicate your salary expectations. Back up your request with your past achievements and examples from your professional career.

  3. Try using negotiation techniques like the "anchoring principle," where you start with a higher demand to create room for negotiation. Be prepared to make some compromises, but don't forget to keep your bottom line in mind. Demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to find a mutually beneficial solution can foster a positive rapport with your prospective employer.

  4. Stay calm and respectful, don't let anyone pressure you. Listen carefully to what your counterpart has to say and think about how you're going to respond to any counterarguments.

  5. Consider alternative offers. If your desired salary isn't possible at the moment but you really want the job, ask for alternative forms of compensation, like bonuses, extra benefits, or more vacation days.

  6. Familiarize yourself with the cultural norms and expectations of the German workplace, where professionalism, directness, and thorough preparation are valued. Demonstrating an understanding of these cultural nuances can enhance your negotiation strategy and increase your chances of success.

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