On September 1, 2021, “Deutsche Welle” published an article titled “How much do school teachers earn in Germany and can they be granted gifts?” Its author, Xenia Safronova, a journalist, claims that German teachers are paid 3 to 5 thousand euro per month on average, and this meets the benchmark of «higher than average» in Germany.
We claim that brutto / netto terms haven’t been fully explained in the article. The difference between these two is crucial and it certainly affects the way the information is perceived. «Netto» is money that an employee receives on-hand. Brutto salary is also called “gross pay” and “paycheck” in the vernacular. As a matter of fact, workers receive less than what they actually earn. «Brutto / Netto salary margin may be as high as 30 percent depending on the region», – that’s what our expert, Anna Abrosimova, Associate Professor of the Lobachevsky University’s Institute of Economics and Entrepreneurship, claims.
We also paid attention to the fact that when mentioning 3 to 5 thousand euro salary, Deutsche Welle refers to their own article of 2019, “How much do teachers earn in Germany?”, and its author, Tatiana Weinman, relies on the statistics for 2017 provided by OECD.
In general, this data is still relevant to this day, but that doesn’t concern all the teachers in Germany. The thing is that most of the municipal school employees are civil servants. That means their wage level is regulated by the legislation in accordance with which certain ranks of teachers can receive a higher salary. However, it is important to notice that the number of civil service teachers much depends on federal states.
Civil service teachers’ salaries are divided into multiple categories. This information is confirmed by our expert, a German teacher. Our expert decided to remain incognito. We have the right to not disclose the source as this goes in accordance with the rules of the German Press Code.
«Speaking of the wage level, it’s important to consider the academic background. Getting hired at school after gymnasium you get A13 status. After that, you can be promoted to Senior Tutor, who receives a salary of A14 level. The next level is A15 and that includes the educational institution’s supervising staff, members of school administration. Principal belongs to A16 category, vice-principals belong to A15 with bonus payments».
The tables below show the approximate salaries of teachers of different categories, as well as the time for which they can reach the next one. In the state Saarland, for example, a teacher on A13 level will begin with 4179,79 euro (see first table). With experience, his salary will increase over time up to a maximum of 5380,91 euro if he does not get promoted to a higher level.
Overall, we agree with Ms. Safronova’s claim about teachers getting paid 3 to 5 thousand euro brutto per month but it is important to mention the fact that we only take civil service teachers into account. We are also going to insist on the issue of the “brutto salary” a term not being fully explained.
This article also states that teachers’ salaries meet the benchmark of «higher than average» in Germany. According to data provided by The Federal Statistical Office of Germany (Destatis) that the author of the article refers to, the median wage of 2020 in Germany is 3,975 euro. As mentioned previously, the minimum wage for teachers equates with A12-A13 levels. Therefore, we have the following minimum wage in different federal states:
According to the information taken from a publicly available source Destatis, educational workers received 57,432 euro in 2020. This is indeed the average figure as teachers who have bigger experience and the status of civil servant received more and teachers of lower status received less, respectively. Nonetheless, it does not contradict the information from Deutsche Welle. As for the median wage for all the sectors, it amounted to 53,000 euro per year if we are to calculate the arithmetic mean using the available data.
As a result, the information about teachers’ salaries being higher than the median wage countrywide provided by Deutsche Welle also holds true. However it is important to notice that it is higher than the median wage by 4 thousand euro a year (that is approximately by 333 euro a month).
Despite us having the opinion that the difference between brutto and netto salaries hasn’t been clearly explained in the article and disagreeing with a categorical statement made by Ms. Safronova that teachers’ salaries fall under the category of «higher than average», we have to admit that the statistical information presented in the article is genuine and that is confirmed by both our experts. Therefore, we consider that this material by Deutsche Welle can be classified as “mostly true”.
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