professor salaries in germany

professor salaries in germany

The remuneration of civil servant professors and junior professors at state universities in Germany is based on the Federal Salary Ordinance W. This is divided into three levels: W1 for junior professors and W2 and W3 for all other civil servant professors.

General information

  • As the federal states can determine the professorial salaries of the W1, W2 and W3 levels themselves, these salaries vary from one state to another.
  • The basic salary of the 3 salary levels is quite low, but can be significantly increased by an individual performance bonus. As a result, the basic salaries of the salary levels differ considerably from the salaries actually paid.
  • The real gross salaries of professors can now differ in the countries by up to 1,500 euros per month.
  • At universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen), in the vast majority of cases, salaries are paid according to W2; W3 is the absolute exception there. At universities, however, there are almost twice as many W3 professors as W2 professors.


Salary levels in comparison

  • Junior professors in the W1 salary bracket earn between 4,494 euros gross and 5,228 euros gross (2020), depending on the federal state.
  • W2 professors earn between 5,328 euros gross and 6,583 euros gross (2020), depending on the federal state.
  • W3 professors earn between 6,256 euros gross and 7,473 euros gross (2020), depending on the federal state.
  • The federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are in the lead as far as basic salaries are concerned, with Thuringia and Saxony bringing up the rear.
  • In the states of Bavaria, Hesse, Saxony and the federal government, the average value of the newly introduced experience levels applies. They allow professors to increase their salaries after five or seven years, depending on the federal state.

Actual salaries in comparison

Monthly real average gross salary, 2018

Federal state W1 in Euro
W2 in Euro
W3 in Euro
Bavaria 4.610 6.770 9.190
Baden-Württemberg 5.300 6.750 8.390
Berlin 4.750 6.490 8.960
Hamburg 4.650 6.340 8.400
Hesse 4.840 6.780 8.840

*For the DHV’s salary ranking, the Federal Statistical Office has determined interdisciplinary average values for the real professorial salaries at public universities and universities of cooperative education. The basic salaries, family allowances, various benefits, for example on the occasion of appointments, and special payments were taken into account, insofar as these were paid in the survey month of June 2018.

The figures for the other federal states (2020) can be found on the homepage of the German Assocoation of Universities (Deutscher Hochschulverband).

Source: German University Association,

Professors’ salaries in international comparison

  • According to the American Association of University Professors, the average salary of a full professor in the USA is $8,500 per month, or ¤7,200 (source: Salaries at elite universities are of course much higher. At Harvard University, for example, the basic salary averages 17,300 dollars per month, or 14,650 ¤.
  • French universities are usually public institutions, so the government sets their salaries. Permanently employed full professors earn an average of 5,040 ¤ per month (source:
  • In Canada, a permanent full professor earns an average of CAD 10,400, which corresponds to approximately ¤6,650 per month (source:

Salary differences between professors

  • There are quite large salary differences between female- and male professors in Germany.
  • The gross monthly salaries of the W3 professorships vary up to 690 euros on average at the expense of the female professors. This is shown in the 2018 salary barometer of the German Association of Universities (DHV). In 2017, the difference was still a maximum of 650 euros. So, the salary gap is growing instead of shrinking for W-salaries.
  • In the case of W2 and W1 professorships, however, the salary gap between men and women has narrowed somewhat. The actual salary received by W2 female professors was recently ¤ 290 lower than that of male professors, and ¤ 130 for W1 female professors. In 2017, the difference was still 320 euros and 200 euros respectively.
  • The reasons for the salary differences are not clearly evident. Possible causes could be an unequal gender distribution in certain subject groups, unequal distribution of the family allowance between the genders and a far above-average salary in university management, where women are clearly underrepresented.
  • In professorships, the proportion of women decreases the higher the grade becomes: For W1 professorships, it is 43.3%, for W2 professorships 24.1% and for W3 professorships 19.4%.

Source: DHV salary barometer 2018,