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What Do Academics Earn in Germany? Salaries in Academia

What do academics earn in Germany? In partnership with the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers, you can find all the key information about salaries in academia here.

What do academics earn in Germany? Salaries in academia© Luseen - iStockphoto.com
Since 1 January 2005, professors in Germany can only be appointed to a post based on the W scale. Junior professors are appointed on the W1 salary scale with a basic salary of 3,405.34 euros. W2 professors receive a basic salary of 3,890.03 euros, W3 professors a basic salary of 4,723.61 euros. Basic salaries as minimum remuneration are pensionable and are subject to general salary adjustments (index-linking). Unlike the C salary scale, there are no increases based on length of service on the W salary scale. Family allowances may be added to the basic salaries. At level 1 (married), the family allowance is 105.28 euros. Child-related family allowance is 90.05 euros each for the first and second child. For the third and any subsequent children, the family allowance increases by 230.58 euros (salary as at August 2004). In some federal states, salary adjustments have however already been made in recent months.

For civil servants employed in the new federal states, pay is also determined by the second transitional remuneration ordinance ("Zweite Besoldungs-Übergangsverordnung"). Civil servants who are not employed in the new federal states from their initial appointment, but who are or were already employed in civil service posts in the former West Germany, receive "West" pay. Civil servants appointed for the first time in the new federal states receive "East" pay, which currently amounts to 92.5 per cent of salaries for the former West Germany. These civil servants may obtain a pensionable allowance amounting to the difference between "East" and "West" pay if they are appointed based on qualifications acquired in the former West Germany (for professors: degree, doctorate and postdoctoral lecture qualification ("Habilitation") or equivalent research) and where there is an urgent official requirement to recruit them. The same applies to the appointment of academics with qualifications acquired abroad. They can likewise receive the difference between "East" and "West" pay if there is an urgent official requirement for their appointment.

Professors who hold a post in accordance with federal salary regulations C will remain in this remuneration scheme and will continue to move up to higher grades based on length of service. Increases to their salary through allowances or special allowances for C4 posts are however not legally permitted. If "C professors" wish to move to another university, they must switch to a W-salaried post upon accepting the post and their appointment. The same applies if professors wish to conclude a loyalty agreement with their existing university covering an increase to their salary. In this case, professors must also switch to a post on the W federal remuneration scheme.

Performance bonuses

Performance bonuses may be added to W2 and W3 basic salaries. As defined in Section 33 (1) of the Federal Civil Service Remuneration Act (BBesG), professors may receive performance bonuses:

1. in connection with appointment and loyalty negotiations,
2. for special achievements in research, teaching, the arts, training or supporting junior researchers, as well as
3. for performing functions or special tasks relating to university administration or management.

General information

Appointment and loyalty performance bonuses and performance bonuses for special achievements may be awarded for a limited or unlimited period or as a one-off payment. Function performance bonuses are paid for the duration that the function or task is performed. As a rule, performance bonuses may not exceed the difference between salary brackets W3 and B10 (5,241.48 euros as at 1 August 2004).

Appointment and loyalty performance bonuses

Performance bonuses paid to professors on their appointment are generally based on the applicant's qualifications and previous achievements, taking into account the situation vis-à-vis applicants and the labour market within the respective subject area, as well as possible alternative offers outside the university sector. Loyalty bonuses may be awarded to professors to stop them from leaving. As a rule, universities pay loyalty bonuses if a professor submits an attractive offer from another employer in writing. Appointment and loyalty performance bonuses should generally be paid for an unlimited period. Many federal states do however have an option to limit them.

Special performance bonuses

Special performance bonuses for special achievements in research, teaching, the arts, training or supporting junior researchers are typically paid to professors if they have performed these activities for an extended period. They may however also be paid in advance as an incentive. With regard to performance bonuses for special achievements, universities generally stipulate detailed criteria and a specific award procedure in their remuneration guidelines. Here specific (local) deadlines and procedures with regard to applications and proposals must be observed.

University lecturers can demonstrate extraordinary achievements in research via the number of their national/international publications or research prizes, patents and research transfers, for example, or by obtaining third-party funding. Extraordinary achievements in teaching may be rewarded by a special performance bonus if, for example, professors receive an outstanding teaching evaluation, can demonstrate teaching activity that goes beyond their teaching obligations, have taken on teaching loads which include providing additional support or have been significantly involved in examinations. When it comes to supporting junior researchers, special achievements may be demonstrated in particular by the number of PhD students or continuing scientific or artistic qualifications supervised, or by taking on particular forms of mentoring. The criteria for paying a special performance bonus must be fixed by universities and assigned a certain value. Most universities already have corresponding remuneration guidelines (see the "W-Portal" of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers).

Function performance bonuses

Function performance bonuses are awarded to professors who perform special tasks relating to university administration or management. University administration, deans/faculty council spokespersons, deans of studies and other function holders within the university receive a function performance bonus, the level of which is generally defined in the relevant regulation on performance bonuses or in the university guidelines.


The relationship between performance bonuses and general salary adjustments is regulated differently by the various federal states and to some extent also by universities in their salary guidelines. In some federal states, performance bonuses paid for an unlimited period are automatically index-linked. In contrast, other federal states assume that universities must expressly state that a professor's performance bonuses will be treated in line with general salary adjustments.

Research and teaching bonus

Professors in posts on the W federal remuneration scheme who obtain funding from private third parties for research or teaching projects at universities and carry out those projects may be paid a non-pensionable supplement from those funds for the duration of the third-party funding where private third-party funding was provided for that purpose. This is in accordance with Section 35 of the BBesG in conjunction with relevant federal state law. Teaching activity occurring as part of a teaching project is not however to be recognised as part of a professor's regular teaching commitments. Some federal states fix the level of research and teaching bonuses. Sometimes they stipulate that research and teaching bonuses must not exceed 100 per cent of the professor's basic annual salary. Bonus for junior professors

As defined in Section 33 (1) of the BBesG, only variable performance bonuses may be paid in addition to W2 and W3 basic salaries. Junior professors holding a W1 post may not therefore be awarded any performance bonuses. Following a positive evaluation, they do however receive a non-pensionable supplement to the amount of at present 260 euros in accordance with the preliminary notes to the W federal remuneration scheme. In addition, junior professors may receive a non-pensionable special supplement in accordance with Section 72 of the BBesG if this is necessary to ensure the functionality and competitiveness of the civil service, if a particular position could not otherwise be filled as required in terms of professional qualifications, and if required in order to fill the vacancy in this specific case. In the case of civil servants in salary bracket W1, the special supplement may not exceed ten per cent of the basic salary per month. Where federal state law permits, junior professors may receive a research and teaching bonus.

Deutscher Hochschulverband