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10 things we just learned about the Berlin startup scene

Berlin is one of Europe’s startup hot-spots and is often held up as an example of the cool and at-ease-with-itself contemporary Germany likes to project.

That’s all well and good. Being home to large number of startups can give you serious kudos as a city. After all, entrepreneurship is key to building a country’s future.

But what about the people who work at those startups? What kind of salaries are they earning? How do they feel about the positions they’re in? And do they face similar problems to people in other startup hubs around the globe?

Well, thanks to a new report from BerlinStartupJobs.com, we have an idea. The report, which presents the results of an anonymous survey which has been running since 2013, reveals a few things many would already have suspected: that you’re better off being a man and that startup employees tend to feel underpaid. But it also revealed a couple of surprising things, most notably that dropouts earn more than university graduates.

The Berlin Salary Survey was answered by 3,388 respondents, 60% of whom already reported to live in Berlin. There was a very high concentration of non-German respondents (nearly 80%), likely to have been influenced by the survey’s availability solely through the English language.

Below are some of the headline findings of the survey:


Berlin startups have an extreme gender pay gap

Among full-time startup employees in Berlin, the median salary for males is €3 333, while females reported a median salary of €2 500. That’s a difference of almost 25%. Somewhat discouragingly, that disparity only seems to grow with experience.

Median salary age

Software Developers and Managers earn the highest salaries

The median starting salary for software developers sits at around €2 900, while managers at the start of their careers earn a median of €2 500.

Slary vs type of work

University dropouts earn more than graduates

Although they comprise just six percent of respondents, people who have dropped out of university reported higher salaries than college graduates.

Median salary education

The German minimum wage made little difference to intern salaries

Despite the fact that Germany introduced a minimum wage of €8.50 per hour in January 2015, a variety of loopholes mean that interns are still paid incredibly low salaries.

Startup Internships

Sales and Marketing roles pay the least

Although roles in sales and marketing may be spun as excellent entry points to lucrative careers, often this is not the case. These roles frequently offer poor financial prospects.

People who work in Berlin startups are happier

Despite lower salaries people who work in startups report to be happier than those who don’t. Similarly, people who live in Berlin are happier than those who don’t.

Company Type vs happiness

People who work in startups tend to feel underpaid

Happy though they may be, people who work in Berlin startups tend to feel like they’re paid less than they’re worth.

Work experience has a strong positive influence on salaries

Slary and Experience

Experience is one of the strongest driver of high salaries, meaning that when it comes to earning high wages, working hard is the most important determinant.

Berliners are less experienced but more likely to work for startups

People who live in Berlin tend to be less experienced that their peers that live outside of Berlin. However, these people are also far more likely to work for a startup.

Author Bio

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas is a product of Rhodes University. Whilst completing his Bachelors in Journalism, Politics and English, he realised he was a bit of a geek, albeit one who isn't afraid of the sun. An honors in English at the same institution failed to curb this. An MA in... More