Trainee salary Germany
What salary will I receive as a trainee?
The term trainee has long ceased to be a synonym for long-term interns or low-paid career starters. Although trainees lag behind direct career entrants in terms of earnings, they often gain experience that pays off in their future careers.
While newcomers quickly focus on one area of expertise and one type of task, trainees spend time in different areas of the organisation to really get to know how things work. They will become the managing directors of the future, which is why many companies organise their trainee programmes with a high level of commitment. Even the selection of candidates often involves complex processes with multi-level assessment centres. During the traineeship itself, support ranges from mentoring to networking events and trips abroad. However, this route also comes with a lower salary.
In 2012, 94% of university graduates in Germany would consider starting their working life as a trainee. Trainee programmes have therefore become a recognised way to enter the profession, by both companies and graduates.
However, job coaches always bring up an important detail: Compared to the experience of a direct job entrant, the added benefits of professional training, comprehensive corporate insights, networking opportunities and sometimes even the international activities offered to trainees are priceless.
As the term trainee is not protected, prospective applicants should also keep note of the development and training opportunities offered by the company within the scope of the traineeship, and should also keep track of job prospects when the programme is finished. The duration of the trainee programme should be between 9 and a maximum of 24 months.
How does the sector affect a trainee's salary in Germany?
The type of university degree has a strong influence on the salary level. An graduate trainee earns on average 9% less than a graduate with a master's degree. The most lucrative industry in this context is finance and controlling: According to StepStone's Salary Report 2016, trainees are almost on a par with direct entrants with earnings of €45,538. Trainees in the field of marketing are at the bottom of the ranking. Trainee programmes in the fields of PR, corporate communications, journalism and editorial staff are by far the worst paid.
Those interested in specialising in natural sciences and research will receive a moderately high salaries at €42,278. Physicists and chemists have the best salary prospects of all: At the beginning of their career, they earn 40% more than, for example, their colleagues in earth sciences.
Annual gross salaries of trainees and direct entrants by sector
Annual gross salary trainee
Annual gross salary direct entry
Science and research
Finance und Controlling
Procurement and logistics
Source: StepStone salary report 2016 for graduates
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Are there regional differences between trainees' earnings in Germany?
Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg and Hesse, are in the lead for entry-level applicants due to the financial and industrial locations around Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt am Main. The front runner in the federal state comparison is Baden-Wurttemberg with an average starting salary of €45,630 for graduates (both direct entrants and trainees). Those at the beginning of their career in Mecklenburg Western Pomerania earn approximately 1/5 less (€35,727).
However, the northernmost federal state of Schleswig-Holstein stands out when looking at the starting salaries in the field of science and research. If you start working here after graduation, the average salary of €52,222 (for both direct entrants and trainees) is almost on a par with the front runner Hesse (€52,891).
How does the salary develop during a traineeship?
The starting salaries of trainees at the beginning of their career are on average 10% lower than those of direct entrants. Even during the traineeship, earnings rarely or never change. In return for not costing more money, however, trainees are offered many opportunities to develop themselves.
For example, by regularly changing between departments and company divisions, the trainee gains a comprehensive insight into the different processes and an understanding of the relationships between the units. Companies also engage in mentoring, continuing education seminars, networking events and trips abroad to attract the best graduates to their trainee programmes.
The initial loss of salary is worthwhile as soon as the trainee has proven him or herself within the company and is taken on as an employee at the end of the programme. As companies invest heavily in trainees, they are more than interested in keeping on their highly qualified candidates, often with a permanent contract.
academics - June 2017
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