Berlin Startup Salary Report: Who Earns the Most (and the Least)

On Wednesday, May 11th, Jobspotting released The Berlin Startup Salary Report. The discovery of a wide gender pay gap caused quite the furore, but it wasn’t the only point that got people talking.

Salaries are a taboo subject in many societies and Germany is no different in that regard. There is little public information about what people are generally earning, and salary ranges are never supplied alongside the job description in vacancy advertisements. People working in Germany can only really speculate on what the going rates are in their industries.

The salary survey was an attempt to break that taboo and to shed some light on the murky subject of what people are really getting paid. For those who don’t fancy digging into all 44 pages of the report, here’s an overview of who’s earning the most and who’s bringing up the rear financially.

Where did we get this info?

The data that we analysed was from a survey hosted on BerlinStartupJobs.com since April 2013. In total 3,619 people took part but after some data cleansing, we were left with a sample of 3,388.

So, who’s raking it in?

Developers and Designers

It will come as a surprise to no one, that software developers and designers are at the top of the financial food chain in Berlin. Regardless of how established the company is, how experienced the person is, or what type of company it is – coders get paid a premium wherever they go.

median_startup_full-time_salaries_vs_type_of_work_in_berlinEntry level developers earn a median gross salary of €2,900 monthly, which rises to about €5,000 by the time they have 10 or more years of experience. Designers earn less at the start of their careers (€2,000 gross median), but earn a median salary akin to that of software engineers with 10 or more years of experience.

Management

People who work in management (of people, product or project) earn less than software developers at the start of their careers (monthly gross median: €2,500) but eclipse the coders when they have a decade or more of experience under their belts (€5,300). Make sure to remember that this isn’t the average salary, but the median so it isn’t skewed by outliers at either end of the pay spectrum.

Who’s still a little strapped for cash?

Interns

Sorry interns, but the outlook isn’t good. Despite introductions of a minimum wage for the first time in Germany’s history in January ‘15, interns still only reported gross median earnings of €660 per month. People who take on internships to fulfil credit requirements for a university course don’t have to be paid at all.

So how should this influence your choices? While it’s always great to get work experience, if you’re not going to be paid a living wage for it, you need to make sure it’s worth your while in a different way. Ask lots of hard questions at internship interviews and make sure that you’re getting real experience, not just brewing endless pots of coffee.

Salespeople

Salespeople in Berlin earn gross median monthly salaries of €1,950 at entry level which is pretty respectable. However, that base salary only rises to a median of €2,500 with 10 or more years of experience.

That might seem like an incredibly small rise in salary, but this number is purely a base monthly salary. As many people know, salespeople make most of their money from commission and bonuses so for that reason it’s hard to estimate what salespeople actually take home.

Marketers

People who work in marketing earned a monthly median of €2,092 at entry level. By the time they have gained 10 or more years of experience, the gross median for marketing salaries is €3,300.

Marketers are definitely at the low end of the scale in startup jobs. The lion’s share of the money will usually be spent on hiring excellent developers. That doesn’t mean however that there aren’t highly paid marketing jobs. It simply means that the bulk of jobs are on the lower end of the pay scale, and job seekers should be choosy about what kind of work they take on, and the kinds of companies that they lend their skills to. 

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King is the Editor of the Journal by Jobspotting. Hailing originally from smack-bang in the middle of Ireland, she moved to Berlin in 2014 to join the gang at Jobspotting. Carrie previously worked in journalism and literature. If you want to share thoughts or ideas, get in touch: carrie@jobspotting.com