Beer; bratwurst, currywurst, frankfurter and a variety of other sausages; the Autobahn; Bach, Strauss and Beethoven; Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW; Christmas trees and advent calendars; hair perms; Adidas; Lidl; Trabants; the Brothers Grimm; Heidi Klum… the reasons to move to Germany are many and would simply take forever to list.
OK, hair perms might not be a good reason to move to another country, but a more tenable excuse for making Deutschland your home is the fact it has one of the best average wages in Europe, as well as one of the most stable economies.
But what are the highest paying jobs in Germany? And, most importantly, is your profession among them?
Job description: Consultants provide expert advice in a particular area (including security, accountancy, law, management, education, etc). They may operate within a company or be hired externally by a consultancy firm to provide services to clients.
Salary: A consultant’s starting salary ranges between €30,000 and €46,000 (£25,351 and £38,872). Over time, they can climb up the career ladder to become a partner and start earning anywhere between €220,000 and €370,000 (£185,946 and £312,728) annually.
Entry requirements: A bachelor’s degree in a related field like business administration, finance, accounting and business management is expected. Though not necessary, a relevant master’s degree can be beneficial.
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Job description: Engineers are responsible for designing materials, structures and systems while keeping practicality, regulations, safety and cost in mind. Their duties vary according to their respective branch, including chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
Salary: Engineers typically make €64,000 (£54,055). Salaries then increase according to role and experience. For example, a technical manager can earn €138,000 to €168,000 (£116,513 to £141,841) annually.
Entry requirements: While postgraduate study isn’t necessary for entering many engineering careers, master’s degrees, PhDs and professional qualifications in your chosen field are highly sought-after.
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8. IT specialist
Job description: IT specialists are trained professionals who provide IT support. They assist companies and organisations with managing hardware, software, networking and solving problems.
Salary: They earn an average €66,000 (£55,744) a year. With experience, they can move onto becoming IT managers whose annual salary is estimated at €81,000 (£68,412). As head of IT, they can make as much as €124,000 (104,730) annually.
Entry requirements: You’ll generally need a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field, including computer science, information systems or information technology.
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Job description: The role of a lawyer varies greatly across legal jurisdictions. Generally speaking, they advise clients on legal issues such as property and personal rights, and represent them in disputes and court proceedings if necessary.
Salary: Lawyers in small firms typically earn less than €40,000 (£33,795) a year. Annual wages increase to €50,000 and €80,000 (£42,245 to £ 67,592) in medium-sized firms, and up to €700,000 (£591,446) or more in large firms.
Entry requirements: To become a lawyer in Germany, you’ll first need to obtain a law degree, undergo a mandatory clerkship to get the necessary practical skills and, finally, pass a set of examinations. The entire process can take seven years or more, and it’s important to note that requirements vary by state to state.
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6. Attending physician
Job description: Attending physicians are senior doctors, usually in a clinic or a medical care centre. They are comparable to department managers, in the sense that they supervise fellows, residents, medical students and other practitioners and they are responsible for a particular department in their chosen speciality.
Salary: Eighty per cent of salaries for attending physicians range between €85,000 and €150,000 (£71,811 and £126,729) per year. Meanwhile, chief physicians with 11-16 years’ experience in the role can earn €272,000 (£229,809) annually, and €400,000 (£337,967) or more with more than 20 years in the role.
Entry requirements: You’ll first need to complete your medical degree (doing so anywhere in the EU, including Switzerland, is automatically recognised in Germany). You’ll also need to apply for the ‘approbation’ license, as well as work toward a German language certification at minimum B1 level.
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5. Laboratory manager
Job description: Lab managers are responsible for the safe and efficient operations of a clinical, forensic, research and development or medical laboratory.
Salary: Experienced managers are typically paid between €123,000 (£103,879) per year. In comparison, salaries for lab managers in the UK range between £72,000 and £78,000.
Entry requirements: Most employers seek lab managers with a bachelor’s degree, usually in medical technology, chemistry or chemical engineering. Several years of previous experience is also expected.
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4. Sales manager
Job description: A sales manager’s role typically involves talent development and day-to-day management. They set goals and quotas, build sales plans, analyse data, assign sales training, mentor members of their sales team and are involved in the recruitment process of sales staff.
Salary: They earn the top salaries in the marketing and sales sectors, with experienced professionals making as much €134,000 (£113,266) per year. Meanwhile, senior specialists can earn an average annual salary of €88,000 (£74,369) and account managers €94,000 (£79,440).
Entry requirements: In general, sales is a field in which the hierarchical structure is determined by merit; therefore, most sales managers tend to work their way up from the bottom, demonstrating and applying their sales skills at each rung of the ladder.
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3. Investment banker
Job description: Investment bankers are, essentially, company financial advisers. They typically work in a financial institution or in a large bank’s division which deals with raising capital for governments, companies and other entities.
Salary: They can earn as much as €150,000 (£126,802) in their first year of employment. Investment bankers in senior positions can command as much as €300,000 (£253,574) or more a year.
Entry requirements: At a mangement level, you'll likely need an MBA, but a strong educational background in economics, mathematics and statistics - as well as possession of the relevant practice licenses - is usually enough.
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2. Federal minister
Job description: Federal ministers are members of the federal government, the Cabinet of Germany. They make and implement decisions on policies in conjunction with other ministers. They include, among others, the Federal Ministers of Defence, Finance and Health, as well as Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.
Salary: Federal ministers typically make €14,000 (£11,837) a month, or €168,000 (£142,055) a year. Angela Merkel, meanwhile, who is the Chancellor of Germany, makes about €17,000 (£14,374) a month, or €204,000 (£172,491) year, and also receives a tax-free compensation for expenses of around €1,000 (£845) a month.
Entry requirements: Many politicians build successful careers in fields such as law or economics, before moving into politics, although technically anybody can run a political campaign. You will need to be a citizen, though, to be eligible to run for any kind of political office.
1. Managing director
Job description: Managing directors, or CEOs, have the top spot on a company’s board of directors and have the highest paying job in Germany. They are responsible for managing their company’s day-to-day business activities and finances, as well as ensuring all legal obligations are met.
Salary: Managing directors at companies with 25 employees or less typically make €170,000 (£143,570) a year, but you can make as much as €379,000 (£320,077) at companies with 500-1,000 employees and €807,000 (£681,537) at companies with more than 5,000 employees. This also depends on the particular organisation. For example, during his time as CEO for Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn reportedly made €15 million (£12.6 million) a year.
Entry requirements: A relevant degree, postgraduate or professional qualification in management is typically required when applying externally for an MD position; many modern managing directors are self-made entrepreneurs, however, with no formal background in company management.
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If you’ve got the experience, skills and qualifications to pursue any of these careers, there’s only one thing left to ask: Sprichst du Deutsch?
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Perhaps you’re considering moving to Germany for work, or maybe you’ve already done that and would like to share your experiences and advice with those who are in the process of relocating? Join the conversation below and share your thoughts with us!
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our list of the best companies to work for in Germany!
Salary information is based on data compiled by Monster (in German only). Euro – Stirling pound conversions are based on rates from 28 April 2017.
This article was originally published in February 2015.