Finance & Tech Enthusiast
How can I negotiate my salary in Germany? (Quora)15 min read
Difficult to answer without any further details on the background. Where are you in your career, is it for a new job, in which industry, which city, which type of organization, what size of organization?
Salary negotiations in general (true for every country)
1. Prepare for the negotiation.
Is it for a new job, know what you contributed to your last company and what has been the impact on the value of the company. Are you about to ask for a raise, have a list of your current contributions.
Get a clear picture about the long term perspective within the company. What are the salary grids, how are salaries impacted by your annual rating?
Understand the salaries in your industry, city, functional area.
2. Know your objective(s).
What do you really want? Is it just money? Or is money a sign for recognition of your work and/or person? Maybe you can get a better deal by asking for more responsibility, education, home office hours, etc. AND some raise.
And, it is extremely helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your employer. What are the interests of your employer, of you boss? This can help to better understand the impact of your demand(s).
3. Be careful with communicating your alternatives.
It is always good to have an offer from another company, but do not use this in your negotiation. If you feel that you need to address this, be very careful. Your negotiation partner could take it as a threat.
4. Choose your negotiation style.
Negotiation styles are based on the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument. Check all styles here:
Research shows, that those “who behaved competitively did better than those who focused on collaboration, but collaborators were more satisfied than competitive bargainers with the negotiation process.”
5. Negotiate for your happiness.
Do you really want that job? Do you understand the job description? Do you like everything on it? You will spend your entire day and sometimes evening and maybe some weekends with your job. Will you be happy with that?
PON at Harvard released some pretty good articles and a free ebook on this. Check this out:
And now lets talk about Germany
I have worked in Germany for the last 15 years. Germans love processes, guidelines and standards. This is necessary as there are very strict employment laws in place. This is where your preparation kicks in. Exactly understand your rights and the obligations of your employer (e.g. in some industries you don’t get paid 12 times a year but 14 times, with some tax advantages on the 13th and 14th salary). You can get some base information and additional links here:
“So, how much do you make?” is a no, no in Germany. So it can be difficult to get an understanding about the salary ranges you are confronted with. On the other side, your prospective employer will be happy to answer this question. Try to make a non-offer here: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard that people with my education and professional track record typically earn EUR 80,000 to EUR 90,000.”
(Some) German organizations are also lagging behind in technology and policies about technology. BYOD is not so common. Mac users are seen as aliens in some organizations. The SaaS tools you used in the US may be forbidden in your new organization. Remember, you are in SAP country. Make sure you understand that part of your new job and do not make assumptions.
This is true for the typical German organization. Non-profits are of course different. You don’t want to move to a governmental organization in Germany.
This is NOT TRUE for German startups. There is a very vivid scene in the major cities, especially in Berlin. Those companies have grown so fast and are so new that they developed some new ways. German startups are heavily “internship” focused and also use independent project consultants. At the first glance this looks ok. However, I doubt that this is really 100% compliant with German labour law. As this will be audited every 3-5 years, I will actively monitor what is going on there.
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