Why do engineers make so much money

Engineers in Germany really deserve that

Engineers want to know what they can actually earn, which industry is the most lucrative and where career starters can group themselves. For this, the VDI Verlag publishes an income study every year only for engineers. The current income study comes to a clear conclusion. Read here who benefits and who doesn't.

What do engineers in Germany really earn? Our salary study reveals it.

Photo: panthermedia.net/utah778

Digitization is changing business models, structures and the way companies think. As a designer of digital processes, Engineers particularly challenged. Accordingly, as a professional group, they are more in demand than ever and their salaries are high. But how much exactly and which engineer earns how much in which industry? What role does the degree play when starting a career and to what extent does the position and work experience influence the salary in the course of the career? Find out in our salary study.

How much does an engineer earn?

Engineers from Germany have an excellent reputation worldwide. They are also often said to orient themselves when looking for a job according to the range of responsibilities of the field of activity and the content-related challenges. But in the end they want to make money too. The decisive levers that have a decisive influence on the level of the salary are Education, professional experience, industry, location and size of the company. At the time the present study was carried out, there was no inkling of the corona pandemic. In the meantime, it has been keeping us in suspense since the beginning of 2020 and is actually making the world stand still. It is certain that the economic crisis that is already emerging today will not leave the engineering job market unaffected. It will weaken him.

Gloomy expert forecast: Corona crisis causes jobs to be cut worldwide

In 2019, the gross annual salaries of the participants in the study (career starters and engineers with professional experience) were in the median 61,100 euros (+ 0.5% compared to the previous year). This is the conclusion reached by new income study 2020 from INGENIEUR.de, which is based on information from 11,500 engineers.

Engineer salary: The chemical and pharmaceutical industries offer the highest wages

The salary profiteers include, in particular, engineers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Engineers earn money with more than two years of professional experience 79,115 euros gross. Young professionals get on average 56,950 euros. Overall, experienced engineers earn money across all industries 64,800 euros. The starting salary is at 48,500 euros. The salaries in engineering and planning offices are a bit low. Young professionals earn around 43,800 euros. After two years of professional experience, the engineers in planning offices have a salary of 54,600 euros.

IT engineers continue to benefit. The average salaries for experienced engineers in information technology are around 61.000 Euro. In 2017, the earnings were still 58,300 euros. Digitization also means that the requirement profile for engineers is increasing. Additional IT qualifications in addition to pure specialist knowledge will be in demand in the future. You can find out which additional qualifications are expected in the article “Does IT knowledge improve engineering salaries?”.

Mechanical and plant engineering as well as energy supply, with average values ​​of over 66,400 euros, are among the particularly attractive sectors for engineers in terms of salaries and income.

There are more details for young professionals in the area of ​​starting salaries for engineers.

Overview: What do engineers earn by industry?

What does a civil engineer earn?

According to the current salary study by ingenieur.de, civil engineers with more than two years of professional experience earn an average of around 55,300 euros. On the salary development for civil engineers

What does an electrical engineer earn?

Specialist and project engineers in electronics and electrical engineering receive an average of 50,000 euros when they are just starting their careers. On the salary development for electrical engineers

What does an energy engineer earn?

According to the current income study by ingenieur.de, the gross annual salary for energy engineers is 68,980 euros. On the salary development for energy engineers

What does a mechanical engineer earn?

After graduation can specialist and project engineers in mechanical and plant engineering with an average annual salary of 50,000 euros calculate. On the salary development for mechanical engineers

What does a sales engineer earn?

The earning potential for engineers in sales with more than two years of professional experience are on average with an annual salary of around 64,550 euros hardened and tempered. On salary development for sales engineers

What does an engineer earn in vehicle construction?

In 2019, the average annual gross earnings of a professionally experienced engineer in vehicle construction was around 73,100 euros. On the salary development for engineers in vehicle construction

How much does a chemical engineer earn?

In 2019, the gross annual salary of an engineer in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry was 79,115 euros. On the salary development for chemical engineers

How much does an industrial engineer earn?

With a Bachelor of Engineering in industrial engineering, the starting salary is an average of 47,000 euros gross. There's more to it with a master’s degree: up to 49,000 euros gross. After a few years, however, the salary adjusts, but a Master of Engineering is paid more at entry. After five years, the gross annual salary of an industrial engineer is around 50,000 euros.

In which region do engineers earn the best?

The place of work remains a decisive factor for the level of income. The data collected by VDI Verlag since 2002 continue to show significant wage differentials from north to south and from west to east. The engineering salaries tend to be highest in the Nuremberg metropolitan area with average 66,200 euros achieved, closely followed by the Stuttgart and Düsseldorf regions. A long way behind is Dresden with 49,800 euros. Several large companies are based in Nuremberg, such as Deutsche Bahn, Continental and Siemens. The large number of attractive employers is one reason why the salaries here are higher. In addition, the TU Nuremberg throws numerous graduates onto the market. The conditions in Dresden are different - especially not the abundance of potential employers.

That's how much engineers earn in metropolitan areas.


If you want to check your current salary, you can also enter your data anonymously and free of charge in the salary test and then receive an individual evaluation.

You can also download an extract from the salary study free of charge. If you are interested in the complete study, you can order it as a PDF here.

What does an engineer earn after 10 years?

After ten years, engineers can expect a significant increase in salary. Employees can reach the first higher salary level after five years. As in all industries, work experience is reflected in the payroll. After ten years in the job, engineers across all sectors earn an average of 66,000 euros gross. After that, the engineering salary rises to an average of 80,000 euros.

Also read: So much salary increase is possible in the first few years of employment

What do you earn as a graduate engineer?

Graduated engineers have been very proud of their degrees for many years. The graduate engineer enjoys a high international reputation. But for some time now there have been Bachelor and Master degrees nationwide. However, a diploma course is still offered at some universities. You can read here which universities still offer the title.

The reason for the different offer of degrees is the Bologna process, which 29 European education ministers started in 1999 in the Italian city of Bologna.

Anyone who works as a graduate engineer earns an average salary of around 56,400 euros. In the upper field, the annual salary is 67,100 euros. The lower limit, however, is around 48,400 euros. Graduated engineers in mechanical engineering earn between 55,300 euros and 65,800 euros.

German engineering salary in international comparison

In an international comparison, German engineers are paid very well. In Sweden, engineers receive around 37,000 euros gross. In Great Britain the gross income is 42,000 euros. As a starting salary, young engineers in France receive around 40,000 euros gross. In our neighboring country Belgium it is 38,000 euros. The Spanish engineers are among the worst-paid employees: They receive around 23,000 euros gross.

The USA leads the world: beginners receive 62,000 dollars, that's 55,000 euros gross per year.

Also read:

Applicant Guide: How your career start will be successful

How much net remains of the gross salary?

In the check: the size of the company has such a strong influence on the salary

A contribution by:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.