What is it like to work in a Berlin start-up? It’s not great, if you’re a woman

11 May 2016

Berlin remains one of the most popular destinations in Europe to establish a start-up, but a new detailed report finds that it’s not all rosy for staff, particularly women.

Founding a start-up in Berlin is often considered a logical step, as you land yourself in the largest economy in Europe, and can take advantage of its strong infrastructure, diversity and relatively low costs.

But what does this mean for the average person who, in many cases, is taking a considerable leap in leaving their home country and moving to Berlin to become one of the first people to work for a fledgling start-up?

Women earning 25pc less

To find out, BerlinStartupJobs.com conducted a three-year anonymous survey that asked respondents to share details about their salaries, their work experience, their industries and their happiness within their current roles.

The survey received 3,388 responses, of which 60pc said they were living in Berlin at the time, with nearly 80pc being non-Germans.

Largely young college graduates (82pc holding a degree), the survey’s questions on happiness threw up quite a lot of negativity, much of it coming from women.

According to the survey’s findings, across the board, there appears to exist an extreme gender pay gap, with male employees of Berlin start-ups earning considerably more than women: €3,333 per month compared to the latter’s €2,500.

Gender pay gap Berlin

Graphic via BerlinStartupJobs.com

Drop out, earn more (not sound advice)

This significant wage gap appears to be across all job areas and levels of experience, with Berlin start-ups shown to have a larger average pay gap percentage of 25pc compared with Germany overall (22.4pc) and the EU average of 16.4pc.

Looking at salaries regardless of gender, it might not come as a surprise that the highest earners in Berlin start-ups are management and software developers.

Depending on experience, developers earn an average monthly wage of between €2,900 and €5,000 for those with more than 10 years’ experience.

So, while many of the respondents admitted to feeling underpaid for their work, the 82pc of college graduates might want to plug their ears when they hear that while only 6pc of respondents said they were college dropouts, they all reported earning higher salaries than their third-level educated peers.

Education level

Graphic via BerlinStartupJobs.com

Perhaps spare a thought for interns, too, as despite the German national minimum wage being €8.50 per hour, the survey finds that they are not paid anything close to that.

In the survey’s conclusion, BerlinStartupJobs.com said that women might “consider the city less rewarding in terms of earning prospects, but now know that they can negotiate more assertively for remuneration equal to their abilities.

“The information provided in this report will hopefully make it easier for eager jobseekers to make informed professional and financial decisions that will boost their careers.”

Berlin Wall image via andersphoto/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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