Everyone is talking about 10.4% inflation in October and as a student, you are probably feeling the increase in consumer prices. It starts with your shopping in the supermarket and really hits you on your heating bill. Perhaps it's time to find a part-time job - or even better, a job as a working student, because in the best case scenario, this furthers your career and is largely exempt from social security contributions. But what hourly wage can you expect? We have done some research.
The good news is: as of 1 October, the statutory minimum wage in Germany has been raised to €12 gross per hour, an increase of about 22%. Now we are curious to see how this will affect salaries for working students in the medium term. Because up to now, the salaries were situated well above the minimum wage. The most recent table we found at Berufsstart.de shows an average salary of €12.17 per hour in Germany for 2022.
However, most of this data was collected before 1 October. In purely arithmetical terms, if all companies that paid less now increase to €12, the nationwide average salary is now already at €13.18. With an upwards trend in the medium term, because the hourly wage of a qualified working student job is expected to distinguish itself from the minimum wage.
But the nationwide average is one thing - your salary will also differ by location, type of work and size of the company you work for.
By company size
Adjusted for the increase in the minimum wage, companies with more than 1000 employees currently pay slightly more, on average €14.58 per hour. Companies with less than 1000 employees are just below at 13.13€.
Among the federal states, Saarland leads, followed by Hesse, Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate. Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia bring up the rear. This reflects the general West-East divide in salaries in Germany, but also the cost of living.
In the city ranking, we find not necessarily companies in large cities with a high cost of living that offer the highest hourly wages. The ranking of cities is led by Salzgitter, Stralsund, Worms and Regensburg, which corresponds with the industries or large companies located there. After all, the steel industry is the sector that pays the most. Munich only makes it number 23 on the list, Cologne to 34, Frankfurt to 37 and Hamburg is the 44th highest paying city in Germany. In the larger cities the breadth of employers from different industry sectors is simply higher which skewes the average.
By industry and subject area
After the steel industry, the top sectors are insurance, aviation, mechanical engineering, the automotive industry and construction, and of course IT. The lowest paid sectors are leisure, hospitality, media, tourism, retail and textiles.
Accordingly, jobs in technical fields such as communications engineering, automation engineering, computer science, construction and electronics are also the best paid. Hourly rates of 15-20€ are certainly feasible here. But musicology and social work are also among the top 10 subjects. At the lower end of the scale, i.e. more at the level of the minimum wage, are media management, fashion, textile technology, supply engineering, real estate management, tourism and - despite cross-sectoral competence - purchasing.
What about taxes and social security contributions?
As a working student in Germany, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester and more during the semester break. As long as you stick to this, you are exempt from contributions to care insurance and unemployment insurance and can take out health insurance for students.
You can work tax-free up to a basic tax-free amount of €10,347 per year (about €862 per month). After that, your employer will deduct income tax and church tax, if applicable.
In addition, state pension contributions of up to 18.6% of the gross wage are due, whereby you only pay half and the employer tops up the other half. There are two exemptions here:
- In a minijob (up to 520€/month) you only get 5.7% deducted, the employer pays its full share of 9.3%.
- In the midijob range (521€-1600€/month or 2000€/month as of 1.1.23), your contribution rate gradually increases to 9.3%.
To find out what you receive as payout from the gross salary, it is best to use a calculator, such as the one from BBX.
Are you looking for a job as a working student? Download the talentbay app* on your mobile phone and create a profile.
(*towards the end of the year we are rebranding to talentee).