Berlin Startup Salary Report: Analysing the Gender Pay Gap

Yesterday, Jobspotting released a document that was the product of months of work, analysis and collaboration: The Berlin Startup Salary Report. One of the most talked-about findings was the stark gender pay gap that we uncovered in startup salaries. But it’s easy to quote a percentage and claim it’s a fact – statistics can be spun any way you want them. In the interest of clarity – or for those who found the report a little TL;DR – here’s a breakdown of how we came to our conclusions about the gender pay gap in Berlin startups.

What is the data quoted in this report based on?

The data that we analysed was from a survey that hosted since April 2013. In total 3,619 people took part. After some data cleansing, we were left with a sample of 3,388. For some parts of the report, we then narrowed down the sample to just those respondents who claimed to work full-time in a Berlin startup which left us with a sample of 2,026. The analysis of the gender pay gap in startups is thus based on 2,026 data sets.

Where is the gender pay gap?

Gendered salary differences in Berlin startups became clear from the outset. Taking a broad overview of the data, we could see that there were already big gaps between what men and women are earning.

Gender Pay Gap in Berliner Startups: Unterschied gesamtOverall, the median salary for male respondents was €3,333. The median calculated for females’ earnings was €2,500. That’s already a difference of €833 before we start taking a closer look at the numbers. A similar difference is reflected in the salaries of respondents who reported to live outside of Berlin.

When does the gender pay gap kick in?

Many arguments that query the veracity of the gender pay gap posit that women earn less simply because they have families and have to take time off and part-time work to facilitate this. While this may be true for many women, we can also see that the gender pay gap is a problem all throughout women’s careers.

Gender Pay Gap in Berliner Startups: Unterschied nach Alter

Between the ages of 20 and 25, male respondents earn a median of €2,000 monthly, while females of the same age earn a median of €1,500. The most pronounced gap is between the ages of 36 and 40 when median salaries for women are a full €1,280 less than those of their male colleagues. While the gap appears to close slightly for those aged over 41, there is still a gap of €800.

Are women simply less experienced?

Unfortunately, no matter how experienced a woman is she is still distinctly likely to be earning less than her male peers.

Looking at male and female respondents with 0 – 2 years of experience, the gap starts relatively small with a difference of €200 – but that’s still an obvious gap! With 6 – 10 years of experience, male respondents are earning a median salary that is a full €1,000 more than their female counterparts, and with over 10 years of experience, males earn a median salary that is €1,250 higher than females of the same experience level.

Gender Pay Gap in Berliner Startups: Unterschied nach Berufserfahrung

Are women just working lower paid jobs than men?

One theory that we thought about was that maybe women are simply more likely to work in lower paid jobs than men are, e.g. sales and marketing jobs rather than tech roles. By and large, this is probably true, but when we analysed the data on the basis of the kinds of roles that people occupied, we still found an obvious pay gap.

Gender Pay Gap in Berliner Startups: Unterschied nach BerufsfeldThe difference is at its smallest in lesser paid roles like sales and marketing, but the fact is that it’s still apparent. In higher paid positions like software development, management, and product/project management positions, we see vast stretches in the differences  between what men and women are earning.

So what does this mean?

The gender pay gap is a global reality across all industries. From interns to movie stars, women are consistently earning less than their male peers.  Across the European Union, the gender pay gap averages at 16.4%. In Germany, that gap is 22.4%. Our analysis showed a gender pay gap in Berlin startups of almost 25%!

How can we change it? Well, at Jobspotting we hope that increased transparency will encourage employers to redress the balance, and that it will spur on women to negotiate more assertively for pay packets equal to their skills and talent. It’s a long, uphill battle given that employers are unlikely to willingly fork out more wages to people who might accept less, but it’s important to stay informed, and stay assertive.

You can check out the full report here.

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: