Difference in salaries: Wage gap between East and West is widening

Status: 09/09/2022 12:31 p.m

Even more than 30 years after reunification, average wages in eastern Germany are well below those in western Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the gap has recently become even larger.

The average annual salary in eastern Germany is still around 12,200 euros below the wage in western Germany. This is the result of an evaluation by the Federal Statistical Office at the request of the left-wing faction in the Bundestag, which is available to the newspapers of the “Funke Mediengruppe”. West Germans earned 55,797 euros last year in manufacturing and services. East Germans received an average of just 43,624 euros. This corresponds to a salary difference of exactly 12,173 euros per year.

In 2020, the wage gap was still 11,967 euros. This means that the wage gap has increased by 206 euros. “If the East German middle class has 12,000 euros less a year at their disposal, then that shows that the price increases in the East will have a much more dramatic effect,” said Sören Pellmann, the left-wing faction’s East German representative, to the newspapers. “The wage gap must finally close.”

Lowest wages in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

In April, however, the Federal Employment Agency found that the gap had decreased in 2021. According to the agency’s evaluation, monthly wages and salaries in the east were 619 euros below those in the west last year. The year before, the difference was 650 euros.

According to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania earns the least on average in the east at 41,715 euros and Saxony the most at 44,531 euros. In West Germany, the average annual wage in 2021 was highest in Hamburg (EUR 62,506) and lowest in Schleswig-Holstein (EUR 49,005).

Gender differences also persist. While men across Germany earned an average of 56,853 euros, women only earned an average of 47,976 euros in 2021. Nationwide in 2021, the average gross salary of full-time employees was 54,193 euros per year.

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