Who is the highest paid mechanical engineer

The Engineer Salary - An overview of the income of young professionals and professionals

What do engineers earn? What is your hourly wage and what are the differences between Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Co.? We took a closer look at the salary structure of engineers. From the starting salary to the professional's income.

Engineers earn really well. This is not just a general opinion, but can also be substantiated with salary figures. According to the Stepstone Salary Report 2018, engineering is one of the top 5 subjects when it comes to salary levels. Engineering graduates earn an average of almost 67,000 euros gross annually. And that's a lot. This is also shown by the evaluation of the socio-economic panel of the Association of German Engineers (VDI), in which the average gross annual salary of an engineer (including vacation pay, Christmas bonus and other benefits) is around 25 percent higher than the reference value of other employed academics.

What does an engineer earn?

An engineer earns € 5,580 gross per month (Stepstone Salary Report 2018). But of course not all engineers are the same, you can't lump all technicians together. So that you can get an idea of ​​salary in engineering, let's take a closer look at the various factors that determine salary.

Professional group factor

Computer scientists, industrial engineers and electrical engineers are mostly at the upper end of the salary range, while civil engineers have the lowest salary on average.

Region factor

Does it still make a difference whether you work in West or East Germany? Yes. The fact is: salaries in the west are up to 20 percent higher than in the east. However, the cost of living is also more expensive here.

If you look at the average salaries by federal state, Rhineland-Palatinate leads the salary statistics with 70,483 euros, closely followed by NRW with 70,413 euros.

federal state

Engineering salary


70,483 euros


70,413 euros


69,830 euros


69,379 euros


68,755 euros


67,357 euros


67,304 euros


66,154 euros

Lower Saxony

64,522 euros


61,045 euros

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

58,235 euros


55,024 euros


52,872 euros


51,858 euros


48,103 euros

Source: Stepstone Salary Report 2018

Company factor

Company size

Large companies pay a higher salary on average than small companies. So if you start at a corporation, you can count on more salary than in a freshly established start-up. The reason is very clear: large companies have long been established on the market, are financially successful, need specialized workers and can pay more.

Collective agreement

In addition, working in a company that is bound by the tariffs of IG Metall, for example, can have a positive effect on the pay slip. As the following survey of the wage index from the Economic and Social Science Institute (WSI) of the Heinz Böckler Foundation shows, engineers with collective agreements often earn significantly more - between 16-25 percent.

Source: igmetall.de

Industry factor

Engineers are needed in every industry and there is good money to be made in all of them. However, there are differences in payment. The chemical, pharmaceutical and IT industries are among the sectors with the highest salaries, while mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and telecommunications have lower salaries on average.

Qualification factor


Not all engineers are academics; some also got their job through technical training or advanced training. However, the fact is: the higher the degree, the better the chances of getting a high salary. As a rule, academics earn significantly more than non-academics. A bachelor's or master's degree in engineering is therefore worthwhile.


Of course, the level of responsibility is also reflected in the salary. Anyone who takes on particularly important work or leads employees will also earn more money. A master’s degree can be helpful for management positions.

work experience

An elementary factor is of course professional experience. The salary of a civil engineer with ten years of professional experience will on average be higher than the salary of a civil engineer with one year of professional experience. You will find out right away how high a starting salary can be and what professionals end up with in the end.

In conclusion, one can certainly say that engineers, regardless of their specialist area, are among the better-paid employees in Germany. In comparison with other industries, above-average incomes can be achieved here. However, one should not underestimate the workload either. According to their own statements, three quarters of the engineers work more than 40 hours a week, almost a third even more than 46 hours.

Starting salaries for engineers

A salary survey of 2,306 young professionals at the VDI has shown that they earn between 45,000 and 48,000 euros annually. It also became clear that the educational institution at which the degree was completed, i.e. whether it was a university or a university of applied sciences, hardly makes a difference:

Source: Salary test, www.ingenieur.de, VDI Verlag 2017

The industry is much more decisive. Even among career starters, those in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries are ahead, but the starting salaries are also impressive in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and energy supply:

Source: Salary test, www.ingenieur.de, VDI Verlag 2017

As you can see, the difference between the earning opportunities in different disciplines is definitely 20 percent. However, it is not just because of these numbers that you should switch from your desired course of study civil engineering to, for example, mechanical engineering. Because only those who love their job will enjoy their work for a lifetime. Otherwise there is no point in earning a few more euros.

Salary for experienced engineers

And what about the development of the engineer salary as you get older? According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the biggest increases in salaries are between 25 and 40 years of age. The majority of salaries are between 36,000 and 48,000 euros under the age of 30 (i.e. in the years of starting a career). But even in the years between 36 and 40, 50 percent of engineers earn more than 60,000 euros. 25 percent of the salaries collected by the SZ were even more than 73,800 euros. Most engineers who have passed their 50s earn between € 52,900 and € 86,000. Factors for the size of the income are among other things the personnel responsibility for many employees, the responsibility for a large budget and also the size of the company.

So here the individual factors that determine the salary come into play: Where do you work, in which position and how many years of professional experience do you have?

Stepstone's 2018 salary report again provides a good overview of the salary increase over the course of a career. Both industry and years of professional experience can be read very clearly here.

Engineer salaries by industry


work experience
<2 years

work experience
3 - 5 years

work experience
6-10 years

work experience
> 10 years

Aerospace Engineering

48,166 euros

57,748 euros

74,491 euros

96,460 euros

Vehicle technology

54,189 euros

61,383 euros

71,712 euros

89,988 euros

Chemical engineering, plastics engineering

51,204 euros

63,242 euros

76,751 euros

86,045 euros

Medical technology

47,828 euros

58,978 euros

62,284 euros

84,106 euros


49,406 euros

60,087 euros

71,879 euros

78,573 euros

Anyone who, as a working person, would like to compare their salary with thousands of other engineers or would like to find out more should look at www.ingenieur.de. There is very extensive data there.

We have also collected salary data for a wide variety of engineering professions: