Germany is almost universally regarded as a great place to work. Located in the heart of Europe, Germany has one of the world’s highest standards of living, a diversified economy and high average salaries, and is home to many leading global organisations — thus offering plenty of lucrative and progressive career opportunities.
When considering a high-paying job in Germany, you are truly spoiled for choice. If you have the right skills and abilities, there’s a job out there for you.
Here, we’ll walk you through the 20 highest-paying jobs in Germany, based on Kununu’s most recent rankings, as well as some information about these jobs and what you need to consider before making the move to work in this incredible country.
20. Regional manager
Average annual salary: €68,200 (£57,700 / $78,950)
Regional managers oversee more than one business unit in a given area or region across a variety of industries. In Germany, regions might refer to one larger city or one of its constituent states.
Regional managers need to master a wide array of skills, ranging from operational or technical expertise to more specialist knowledge such as human resources or accounting.
19. SAP HR consultant
Average annual salary: €68,900 (£58,280 / $79,760)
SAP HR consultants are experts in SAP payroll and productivity tools and share this knowledge in the wider organisation, greatly streamlining the organisational HR provision as well as adding value through data and analytics.
A high level of technical HR and employment law knowledge (specific to Germany and the EU) will be needed as well.
18. Tax advisor
Average annual salary: €68,900 (£58,280 / $79,760)
Being a tax advisor in Germany is a highly responsible role, as it’s the only role in the finance industry allowed to submit tax filings and declarations on behalf of individuals and corporations. They’re also responsible for certifying certain documents and communicating with the tax office.
As such, there’s a lengthy qualification process to become a tax advisor, which includes obtaining a bachelor’s degree and three years’ work experience, and then passing the Steuerberaterprüfung, a three-day long test.
17. Corporate development speaker
Average annual salary: €69,100 (£58,450 / $79,990)
Corporate development speakers give presentations and seminars to small and large audiences on various topics, from leadership to sales skills.
To become a corporate development speaker, you need to have exceptional professional experience and credibility, as well as a natural and captivating persona and impeccable public speaking skills.
Average annual salary: €69,500 (£58,790 / $80,460)
Financial traders operate through a firm, buying and selling financial instruments such as stocks, derivatives, currencies or commodities on behalf of the assets controlled by their firm. A large part of the job involves reviewing analyst reports and making informed choices about what to trade in, and when.
Handling the pressure which comes with managing such important transactions is also a key part of the role.
15. Key account manager
Average annual salary: €70,300 (£59,460 / $81,390)
Key account managers operate as a critical and senior part of an organisation’s sales team. They’re given almost complete control over one or more of the organisation’s most important customers (accounts) and are responsible for sustaining a productive relationship and nurturing the account in respect of long-term strategic goals.
Average annual salary: €72,000 (£60,900 / $83,360)
Actuaries are involved in the analysis and measurement of risk, usually working in conjunction with insurance brokers but also with banks and pension funds.
Germany has a very broad insurance industry, and actuaries are in high demand. The profession is regulated by the Deutsche Aktuarvereinigung eV (DAV), which also accredits new actuaries, aligning them to strict professional standards.
13. Production engineer
Average annual salary: €72,200 (£61,070 / $83,590)
Production engineers are concerned with devising processes on how to produce anything and everything, from soft drinks to motor cars. The role is as much concerned with efficiency and productivity as it is with technical knowledge.
Germany’s manufacturing industry is one of the largest in Europe, and is known for high standards and its efficiency. As such, production engineers are very highly regarded.
12. EHS manager
Average annual salary: €73,100 (£61,830 / $84,630)
Environmental health and safety managers have a very important role in businesses, which is to safeguard human life through the development, training and sustainment of safe working practices. EHS managers can also be charged with protecting the environment from human hazards.
Consequently, the role carries a large amount of responsibility, as well as needing a high level of understanding about German health and safety law.
11. Service delivery manager
Average annual salary: €74,200 (£62,770 / $85,910)
A broad role which can vary substantially from one organisation to the next, service delivery managers develop programmes and processes to deliver a high level of service in relation to the needs and goals of the business.
Service delivery managers are concerned with engaging with clients as well as leadership, needing an appropriate balance of customer satisfaction while keeping service delivery as cost-effective as possible.
10. Pre-sales manager
Average annual salary: €74,500 (£63,020 / $86,260)
Pre-sales managers lay the groundwork for an effective and productive sales team. They might troubleshoot or finetune products, develop pitches and presentations to showcase the product, create demonstrations, develop and communicate technical specifications, and assist marketing and production teams in getting ready for the sale process.
9. Business manager
Average annual salary: €75,100 (£63,530 / $86,960)
Business managers have a broad remit of duties, as they’re responsible for managing a whole business, from the operations and technical aspects of the sector in which it operates to personnel issues, accounting processes, sales activities and everything else in between.
Whereas business managers in larger organisations will rarely be hands-on in these areas, they will be expected to understand how to lead teams to bring it all together.
Average annual salary: €75,300 (£63,700 / $87,190)
Germany is home or hub to many airlines, including Lufthansa, regularly perceived as one of the best airlines in the world.
Pilots start off as first officers and develop into captains and training captains as they amass flying hours. They generally start off by flying short haul, but many choose to progress to long-haul flights with international carriers. In all cases, this is a job which allows you to travel the world, if only after significant training and understanding the intricacies and concentration required in this extremely exciting job.
7. Channel manager
Average annual salary: €75,600 (£63,960 / $87,540)
Most commonly employed in the media or travel industries (but also found in many other sectors), channel managers can be best described as facilitators to the sales process. They employ marketing techniques and relationship-building tools to ensure that a company’s product or service reaches the best (or widest) customer base possible.
The role requires in-depth knowledge of demographics, trends, marketing and, of course, the customers themselves.
6. Risk manager
Average annual salary: €76,500 (£64,720 / $88,580)
Risk managers are highly methodical and analytical people, being tasked with the identification and control of risks to an organisation’s capital or investments. These risks can be external or internal to an organisation.
Risk managers have a broader role than actuaries, often being requested to identify ‘positive risk’. This is a type of risk which, if managed carefully, can bring financial rewards, such as financial speculation.
5. Legal consultant
Average annual salary: €77,100 (£65,230 / $89,270)
Legal consultants are different from lawyers in that they’re acting in an advisory capacity to a person or organisation. Legal consultants cannot, therefore, represent people in a court of law but nevertheless need an expert understanding of legal frameworks in a particular industry, legal area or jurisdiction.
Given the complexity of German law and how it is intertwined with EU law, legal consultants have a very important job to do.
4. Software architect
Average annual salary: €79,000 (£66,830 / $91,460)
Software architects take the lead on strategising and designing software which shapes an entire organisation’s products or services. They oversee programmers and coders and, consequently, must have impeccable software skills of their own, as well as leadership and project management expertise.
Software architects with high credibility and experience with different computer languages are highly valuable people to an organisation.
Average annual salary: €80,000 (£67,670 / $92,620)
Lawyers require an encyclopaedic understanding of law and case practice and will act on behalf of clients in legal agreements, courts and tribunals.
They’re highly regarded as they not only need to have expert legal knowledge but also be able to articulate this in an easy-to-understand way, such as in front of juries or to form compelling arguments to swing a case their way. It is a surprisingly complex occupation.
2. Programme manager
Average annual salary: €80,000 (£67,670 / $92,620)
Programme managers are senior leaders in the field of project management, bringing together several projects (or ‘programmes’) and searching for efficiencies and strategies which will, ultimately, improve team or organisational performance.
Consequently, programme managers need to be influential, knowledgeable and well-organised people, capable of managing different workstreams simultaneously.
1. Portfolio manager
Average annual salary: €80,200 (£67,840 / $92,850)
Portfolio managers are tasked with advising on and carrying out investment interventions for individuals or organisations. They’re typically responsible for carefully investing huge amounts of money, and are compensated accordingly.
This role requires expert knowledge of financial markets and transactions, as well as networking skills and relationship management capability.
Given that there are so many high-paying jobs to choose from in many diverse industries, moving to Germany to work is an attractive proposition.
Be sure to plan any international move carefully. It might be a good idea to visit Germany for a few weeks to see if the environment and culture is a good fit for you. Take some time to research visa requirements to work in Germany, as this varies depending on your home nationality.
Finally, always budget a relocation and the cost of your new life in terms of how much you might need to spend on outgoings, schooling and transport. This means that there will not be any nasty surprises once you have accepted a job.
German employers offer plenty of high-paying roles in many different industries. This, coupled with high living standards and Germany’s peaceful, safe and clean environment, make the country a highly desirable place to further your career.
Are you surprised to see any professions on this list, or that others are missing? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an update of an earlier version published in February 2015.