Here’s where employees earn the most (and least) in Germany

Here's where employees earn the most (and least) in Germany
Employees in the Audi car plant in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. Photo: DPA
There are still large regional differences in the salaries of employees across Germany – especially between the east and west, new figures show.

The 60 districts and cities in Germany where people earn the least are all located in the east of the country. That's according to data from the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) and analyzed by both The Left Party (die Linke) and Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Last year, full-time employees in the Saxon district of Görlitz earned the least, with a gross monthly income of €2,272.

Also at the lower end of the scale was Saxony's Erzgebirgskreis region where workers earned on average €2,301. Next was Vorpommern-Rügen in the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania (€2,303), followed by the Altenburger Land in Thuringia, where employees earned an average gross monthly income of €2,308.

Explained: The worst and best paid jobs in Germany

At the top of the earning scale was Ingolstadt in Bavaria, where employees earned a gross monthly income of €4,897 last year.

In fact, in the four cities and districts with the highest incomes, employees received on average more than twice as much as in the four districts with the lowest earnings.

Ingolstadt was followed by Wolfsburg (€4,893) in Lower Saxony, Erlangen (€4,787) in Bavaria, and Böblingen in Baden-Württemberg (€4,743).

Why are there big differences between east and west?

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall there remains a gulf between eastern and western Germany.

On the topic of wages, a recent government report on German reunification pointed out that one reason eastern Germany lags behind is because nearly all large firms have their headquarters in the west – not the east.

The fact that Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg are the two cities with the highest incomes could partly be because they are home to the headquarters of the Audi and Volkswagen car groups.

Overall, eastern states remain well below the level of the west – although they are catching up slightly.

SEE ALSO: The east-west divide is diminishing but differences still remain

An employee in the Siemens plant in Görlitz, Saxony. Photo: DPA

Average income in the west rose from €3,339 in 2017 to €3,434 last year – an increase of 2.85 percent. But in the eastern states, average earnings rose by 4.88 percent to €2,707.

Hamburg is top state for earning

The state with the highest gross monthly average income is Hamburg (€3,718), followed by Baden-Württemberg (€3,651), Hesse (€3,593), Bremen (€3,475) and Bavaria (€3,449 euros).

Those states are followed by Saarland (€3,392 euros), North Rhine-Westphalia (€3,391), Rhineland-Palatinate (€3,265), Berlin (€3,242), Lower Saxony (€3,175) and Schleswig-Holstein (€3,045).

At the other end of the scale is Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania where employees earn the least in Germany (on average €2,496 per month), followed by Thuringia (€2,553), Saxony (€2,587), Brandenburg (€2,593) and Saxony-Anhalt (€2,595).

READ ALSO: In eastern Germany, the gender pay gap favours women

In Hamburg, only 40 percent of employees earned less than the German national average of €3,304 – in Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania that figure was 73 percent.

Sabine Zimmermann, labour market expert for The Left, said the fact that there are much lower wages in the east was “shameful”. Zimmermann called for an increase in the minimum wage to €12 per hour and to abolish temporary contracts.

The AfD's labour market expert René Springer called on the government to organize a cross-party summit to focus on economy, growth and social security in eastern Germany.

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