Germany – wages and short-time work

In no other country of the European Union earnings increased as slowly as in Germany. Since 2000, wages grew, according to Federal Statistical Office, just 21.8 percent. Trade unionists see the reason in the increase of short-time work (“Kurzarbeit”).

The average income in Germany shrank by 4.5 percent. This puts Germany in a comparison of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in last place. On average, the wages and salaries in the EU increased by 35.5 percent since 2000. The highest increases were in comparatively poor Romania with an increase of 559.3 percent. Similar to German employees, Portuguese, French and Austrians also got only a below-average increase in their wages.

In worldwide comperison, wages rose by almost a quarter, reports the International Labour Organization in its Global Wage Report. In developed countries as Norway, Cyprus and Finland workers profit the most.

Already modified by the Federal Statistical Office, figures show that the German wages have risen more slowly than in the rest of Europe. The ILO now presents inflation-adjusted figures, which take into account the higher prices in Germany, so gross-wages actually declined in Germany!

It is clear that Germany has come surprisingly well through the crisis and the International Labour Organisation experts positively evaluate the crisis management of Germany; the short-time work was very successful to save jobs during the crisis.

But the crisis have not hit all Germans, the economic slump has opened the income gap between rich and poor in the country. Looking at the recent statistics, a clear picture reveals: The higher in the corporate hierarchy you are, the better paid you will be – regardless of the economy situation. According to a study by the consulting firm “Personal Market”, Manager in Germany increased their salaries since 2003, an average of 15 percent from 77 290 € to 88 940 € annually!



3 thoughts on “Germany – wages and short-time work

  1. In Austria the situation is almost the same as in Germany. The average increase of the wages in Austria in 2010 was at around 2,8%.That means it is also lower than the growing european average. The trend of the last years holds on: the salary of eastern-european countries increases stronger than in better developed european countries. But even though the wages in austria and germany increase slower than in other european countries we can see an increase compared to the last 2 years. This shows us that companies see a positive development for the future again.

  2. In Ireland the current situation with wages is crazy. Our minimum wage is €8.65, crazy money for a country that is in real financial crisis. From reading this article and understanding how Germany has survived fortunate through the financial crisis. There was a lot of speculation in Ireland regarding pay cuts and a drop in the minimum wage. This terrified people, in a way it terrified people because the standard of living is so high. This is of without doubt Ireland’s problem. The wanted more. Germany you could comment have had a lower salary than most European countries but it still has not suffered the bearing of the financial crisis. The increase in wages in Germany has shown a positive future.

  3. Germany, often considered as being the well developed, rich and successful country all way long, like some kind of role model, is proven to be somehow not as remarkable as it always seem to be. It is reality that educated workers are forced to work in a low paid, part- time position, completely overqualified and simply inappropriate with no alternatives it is unquestionably sad reality. This shows the dark side of Germany, it is not perfect and desirable for other countries as obviously solutions of short- term employments and underpaid jobs are not sufficient and do not represent the economical wealth. Germany is seen as a superior over all other nations is, as I believe, a deliberate political tool of keeping up the flawless image about ‘rich’ Germany in order to maintain the leading role in determining and deciding in political and global questions.


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