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How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer

Salary negotiation is one of the most uncomfortable topics to bring up with your employer. The discomfort is most often caused by uncertainty, i.e. as an IT professional you understand that your skills are on demand and that you may be worth more than you’re offered, but relying on perception only can be rather misleading.

The gap between deciding to ask for a rise and actually doing so is usually filled with doubts and questions, like ‘Am I really worth so much’, ‘How much are my peers paid’, ‘How to approach the topic and what to say’.

Either you’ve been working in a certain company for some time or are going to discuss your salary with the future employer, these tips can help you bridge the gap.

Define for how much exactly you can ask

This is likely the most important question you should answer yourself before asking for a rise. Your employer may be absolutely okay with satisfying your request as long as it stays within reasonable boundaries.

The average monthly salary of developers in Germany is about 5,000 euros but you should know the range for the exact situation.

So, first of all analyze the following:

1) The federal state you work in

How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer
Monthly gross salary based on 40 hour working week
Source: gehalt.de

2) Years of professional experience

How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer
Monthly gross salary based on 40 hour working week
Source: gehalt.de

3) Your tech stack and qualification

How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer
Monthly gross salary based on 40 hour working week
Source: gehalt.de

4) Company size

How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer
Monthly gross salary based on 40 hour working week
Source: gehalt.de

5) Your education

How to negotiate your salary in Germany as a developer
Source: salaryexplorer.com

Consider using these tools to summarize all possible factors and come up with exact figures.

https://www.gehalt.de/gehaltsvergleich

https://stackoverflow.com/jobs/salary

It can also be a great idea to research job boards for similar positions.

Consider using these tips


1) Focus on the company rather than yourself

When giving arguments for a rise, try to concentrate on the value you can give to the company. Let your manager know that you are ready to take on responsibility. Highlight your achievements and express clearly how the company benefited from them or will benefit in the future. Avoid such points as high bills you need to pay and other personal issues as well as comparing yourself with colleagues.

2) Refrain from complaining

Have you been doing extra hours? Or maybe you have performed some tasks beyond your responsibilities? Let the manager know about it and ask for corresponding compensation but don’t blame the company for disregarding your hard work.

3) Know your worth

This not only relates to certain figures but also deals with the way you carry yourself. Be straightforward and never apologize for asking. Remember that the company needs you just like you need them as an employer.

4) Be the first to suggest concrete numbers

Saying that you would like to be paid more is not enough. Decide on a certain figure and suggest it. It is always easier to agree for less rather than to ask for more in case the manager offers you too little.

5) Use comparison to make your request sound more reasonable

Let us say you want to earn 4,500 euros with the average salary in your category being 4,900 euros. You can mention this average figure before asking for what you intend to get, which will make your request sound more modest by contrast.

6) Avoid round numbers

Just from the physiological point of view 4,350 euros looks better than 4,500 euros in the eyes of the employer. Moreover, it shows that you know exactly how much you’re worth.

7) Choose the right time

Salary negotiations just can’t be started out of the blue because you’ve decided you want a higher reward for what you’re doing. It can be a good idea to ask for a rise after a successful project or when new responsibilities are assigned to you. Check out this list for more ideas.

8) Be patient

Bombarding your manager with questions and reminders may cause irritation, so let them think things over.

9) Remember that word choice may mean more than we think

For example, when talking about the salary you can use verbs like ‘reconsider’, ‘change’, or ‘adjust’ rather than to ‘raise’.

10) Think of what makes up your compensation

Remember that decent reward is not about money only. Some great companies can give you the privilege of international prestige or social benefits. Bare it in mind and be ready to hear it as an argument from your employer

Bottom line: Salary negotiation should not necessarily be a taboo topic to discuss with your boss. Do your homework, research the market and prepare reasonable, company oriented arguments. Be friendly and polite but keep your posture and sound confident.