For the first time in 2018, the Federal Statistical Office found a trend towards wage equalization between low and high earners.

Accordingly, the top ten percent of the wage scale achieved 3.27 times the gross hourly earnings of low-wage earners; in 2014 it was 3.48 times.

"The wage gap is closing particularly clearly in East Germany," it said.

Here, higher earners achieved a gross hourly wage 2.8 times higher than low earners in 2018.

In 2014 it was 3.3 times as much.

This trend was significantly weaker in western Germany (3.5 in 2014 and 3.3 in 2018).

Hourly wages between 9.21 euros and 32.59 euros

In absolute figures, the gross hourly wage of the top ten percent on the wage scale was EUR 32.59 in western Germany and EUR 25.79 in the east, according to the Federal Office's announcement in 2018.

For the bottom ten percent, it was 9.90 euros in the west and 9.21 euros in the east.


Accordingly, the earnings gap between East and West Germany leveled out, especially among low-wage earners.

The statisticians write that one reason for this is likely to be the nationwide statutory minimum wage introduced on January 1, 2015.

In 2018 it was 8.84 euros, currently it is 9.35 euros.

With higher earners - the top ten percent of the wage scale - there was no convergence between East and West.

Overall, a good fifth of the jobs in Germany in 2018 were in the low-wage sector.

At 29.1 percent, the proportion in eastern Germany is still significantly higher than in the west (including Berlin) with 20.0 percent.

While the share in the east fell by 5.4 points in 2018 compared to 2014, it rose slightly by 0.7 percentage points in west Germany.

The proportion of jobs in the high-wage sector fell slightly in both East and West Germany.

Most recently it was almost twice as high in the west at 22.3 percent as in the east at 11.2 percent.