Desired Salary

When should I mention my preferred salary?

  • As a rule, you should only mention your preferred salary in an application when it is explicitly requested from you to do so in the job advertisement.
  • When stating your preferred salary, it is important to always give the yearly amount and always pre-taxes. Do not use a monthly or post-tax sum as they are unreliable.
  • You have the option to give a salary range, for example "… in the range of 37,000 to 40,000 Euros annually". This can be interpreted as a sign of your willingness to negotiate and your flexibility. Pay attention to the size allotted for the overall range, do not make it too wide. It is also possible to provide a concrete number, for example, "… of 40,000 Euros annually," is possible.
  • Never directly bring up the topic of salary yourself as the employee responsible for such matters will mention it on their own.

Why is a preferred salary even mentioned in job advertisements?

The employer wants to see with this if you have a realistic understanding of proper salary categories for the appropriate branch. Research in advance on what the average salary is for the position in the field. Please do so before your job interview at the latest in case the salary issue was not previously touched upon in earlier aspects of the application process.

What factors contribute to determining what constitutes a proper salary? 

  • Entry level salaries can vary vastly depending on the branch and type of work.
  • Larger companies generally pay more than smaller companies.
  • The closer the match between your qualification profile and that of the job description, the better your chances are at negotiations. Further qualifications (time abroad, MA, MBA, Doctorate, additional training courses, special IT skills) also can contribute greatly, but they cannot be said necessarily to contribute to a higher salary.

Salary for Public Sector Employees
Germany has a state-wide public sector wage agreement (TV-L), with Hesse being no exception (TV-H). In public sector positions, salary is essentially non-negotiable as the base rates are openly available online.

As an employee in the public sector with a BA degree, the wage group 9 to 12 (TV-L/TV-H; referred to as higher service) is the confirmed starting point. For those with a MA or a doctorate, the categories 13-15 (TV-L/ TV-H; referred to as higher service) are where they are expected to begin. There are no specific categories for those with a post-doctorate, as the starting wages as such are determined by the individual tasks and responsibilities and not based on the degree obtained.

Where can I find more comprehensive information on concrete salary options for my desired position?

A plethora of websites to help you close in on your desired salary can be found here; currently only available in German Linkliste Gehalt.

Be careful with concrete numbers that you find on the internet. It is more reasonable to search with multiple sources rather than to estimate a salary based off the first number you see online.

Tip: Include graduate surveys in the salary searches

Graduate surveys often containt direct questions to entry level salary or income. Reading through these studies is a good strategy to get an overview of the current job market per vocational field. Oftentimes, the data is available for free on the internet or is available upon request. The Incher (International Center for Higher Education Research of the University of Kassel) is a participant in KOAB (Cooperation Project Graduate Studies), which is implemented nationwide.