Why don't you make more money

What do I earn after graduation?

What will I earn after my studies? Many prospective students ask themselves this question and then choose their subject. We'll give you general tips on salary after graduation and tell you what to look out for.

A classic prejudice when studying compared to an apprenticeship is that you can count on a good starting salary straight away after graduating. This is certainly true for some courses, but it is difficult to make absolute statements about salary after your studies.

On the one hand, your salary depends on various factors that we will go into later in the text. On the other hand, trainees often start with a lower salary after their training, but they also earn earlier than students, especially if they are also adding a master's degree.

Corona stirs up the world of studies

You can find out how Covid-19 affects the university sector and how you can keep a cool head when planning your studies despite the spread of the coronavirus in our article My Studies & Corona.

What is the best course of study for me?

There are of course certain courses that are particularly in demand by companies - accordingly, the earnings prospects there are particularly good.

The best courses for a high starting salary

You can usually expect a good starting salary for the following courses, which of course will increase over the years.

Medicine (and dentistry): on average 50,170 euros
Industrial engineering: an average of 48,238 euros
Natural sciences (biology, chemistry, pharmacy, physics): an average of 48,071 euros
Engineering: on average 47,022 euros
Law: an average of 46,088 euros
Mathematics and Computer Science: an average of 45,897 euros

Source: Stepstone Graduate Salary Report 2017

Basically, it can be said that the so-called MINT subjects - mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology - promise very good salary prospects. But even with business administration-based courses that aim at a career in management, your chances are very good, because with business administration, economics or economics you will earn an average of 42,265 euros at the start of your career.

The best industries for a high starting salary

Your salary will depend on many factors, one of which is the industry you will work in after you graduate. Because whether you work in the banking sector or in the tourism sector can cause serious differences in earnings - even if you have studied business administration and this course actually promises a good salary.

The five industries with the highest starting salary according to the Salary Study for Graduates from Stepstone are:

  • Chemical and oil processing industry: an average of 52,311 euros
  • Banks: an average of 51,741 euros
  • Automotive industry (aerospace industries have a similar merit): on average 50,836 euros
  • Electrical engineering, precision mechanics and optics: an average of 48,843 euros
  • Pharmaceutical industry: an average of 48,820 euros

The region also plays a role

But the region also plays a role in terms of salary: in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, the starting salaries are the highest on average. In the eastern federal states, however, the salaries for graduates do not look so good, with Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania doing the worst with an average of 35,943 euros.

Which courses do not have such good salary prospects?

Just as there are courses that are almost certain to lead to a high salary, there are also courses that tend to lead to not-so-well-paying jobs.

Degree programs with a lower starting salary

The cultural sciences and humanities, in particular, unfortunately cannot come up with an all-too-high starting salary. So if you are more interested in art or culture, you shouldn't expect to earn above average after graduation.

History and cultural studies: on average 33,188 euros
Philosophy and Humanities: on average 33,261 euros
Design: on average 33,297 euros
Educational sciences, social pedagogy: on average 33,721 euros
Architecture: an average of 34,713 euros

Source: Stepstone Graduate Salary Report 2017

Industries with a low starting salary

There are also certain sectors in the industries where you cannot expect a high starting salary. So it doesn't just depend on your course of study, but also on where you start your career. Of course your salary increases over the years with your professional experience and with changes of position etc., but on average you will always earn more in the chemical industry than in the tourism sector, for example.

  • Leisure, tourism, culture & sport: an average of 32,021 euros
  • Education & Training: on average 33,866 euros
  • Agency, advertising, marketing & PR: an average of 34,441 euros
  • Media (film, radio, TV, publishers): an average of 37,377 euros
  • Health & Social Services: on average 38,814 euros

Is a master’s degree worth it for the salary?

Graduation will also affect your salary. According to a study by Salary.de, the mean value (the so-called median, i.e. 50 percent earn less and 50 percent earn more than the stated value) is for Bachelor graduates at 40,550 euros, for master graduates the median starting salary is 45,822 euros. However, Bachelor graduates start working around two years earlier and therefore often earn not much less than Master’s students. Depending on the profession in which you want to work, you should therefore consider individually whether a master’s degree is worthwhile.

Some employers explicitly require a master’s degree, and a doctorate is often required in the natural sciences.

There are certain areas (courses and industries) where your salary can be better than others. So if you attach great importance to good pay, you shouldn't choose a humanities degree, but rather go into technology or natural sciences.

But: Your future earnings should not be the main reason for your choice of study, instead you should choose according to your interests. Within that you can still include the different salary options.

Because it doesn't just depend on the degree program, the size of the company, your position, the industry and the location also play a role in your ultimate starting salary. Your personal negotiating skills are also important - be aware of what you are worth. Your salary will rise over the course of your career, but if you set your starting salary too low, it will be difficult to make up for this gap.