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Source: Destatis Federal Statistical Office

Earnings in temporary workers on average at 12.66 euros gross per hour

Press release 503 from December 14, 2020

WIESBADEN – In April 2018, employees in a temporary employment contract earned an average (median) of 12.66 euros per hour. As the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) also reports, this was 3.92 euros or almost a quarter (24%) less than the average gross hourly earnings in the economy as a whole (16.58 euros). The proportion of low wages in the temporary employment sector was also significantly higher with a good third (34%) of the employment relationships than in the economy as a whole, in which only a good fifth (21%) of the employment relationships were below the low-wage threshold of 11.05 euros gross per hour.

Temporary work – often referred to as agency work or temporary employment – means that an employee is hired out by an employer to a third party for a fee and for a limited period of time. “Temporary work” is used here regardless of whether an employee is in a fixed-term or permanent employment relationship.

Gross hourly earnings: Larger differences in the upper earnings segment

The gross hourly earnings within the group of temporary workers in the lower earnings segment (lower 25% of the distribution) are almost the same as those in the economy as a whole. The situation is different above this segment: Here, temporary workers earn significantly lower gross hourly earnings than employees in the economy as a whole.

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Highest gross hourly earnings in IT and scientific professions

The differences in earnings between the occupational sectors of the economy as a whole are also reflected in temporary workers: the highest average gross hourly earnings were achieved by temporary workers in IT and scientific professions in April 2018 at EUR 18.21. This was followed by commercial and company-related service professions with EUR 14.50.

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The lowest gross hourly earnings were earned by temporary workers in the other economic service occupations at EUR 10.89. This occupational sector includes, in particular, security, traffic and logistics as well as cleaning professions.

High proportion of low wages with a simultaneous industry minimum wage

34% of all temporary employment contracts are paid below the low wage threshold of 11.05 euros. In the economy as a whole, this share is 21%. The lower gross hourly earnings in the temporary employment sector were limited by the minimum wage in the sector of 9.49 euros in western Germany and 9.27 euros in eastern Germany in April 2018. In April 2018, a total of 63,500 temporary workers received the industry-specific minimum wage.

The industry-specific minimum wage in temporary work will continue to be significantly higher than the statutory minimum wage (currently 9.35 euros). The collective bargaining parties have agreed on a Germany-wide uniform industry minimum wage of 10.45 euros from April 2021.

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Methodological notes: These are the results of a special evaluation of the structure of earnings survey 2018, in which information on earnings and working hours of employees is collected every four years with a stratified sample of 60,000 companies. The structure of earnings survey only records employment relationships that existed for the entire reporting month and for which there was an earnings payment in the reporting month. This excludes jobs that were not started or ended with a specific month.

Temporary work (also known as agency work or temporary employment) means that an employee is hired out by an employer to a third party for a fee and for a limited period of time. In the statistics, the employment relationships in temporary work are delimited on the basis of the eighth digit of the reported BA activity code. Employees between the ages of 15 and 64 are included. Temporary workers are generally reported by the leasing company.

The median is the mean value of a series of data in ascending order. Half of the jobs in April 2018 were above or below the median gross hourly earnings (excluding trainees). Compared to the arithmetic mean, the median is not distorted by (possible) outlier effects.

All employment contracts in April 2018 in western Germany (excluding Berlin) with less than 9.54 euros (9.49 euros + 5 cents) or in eastern Germany (including Berlin) with 9.32 euros (9.27 euros + 5 cents) are classified as industry minimum wage jobs. A 5-cent surcharge is added to the applicable industry minimum wage, as the hourly wage in the survey could only be measured approximately.

The definition of the occupational sectors follows the system of the Federal Employment Agency. You can find more information here.

Further information: Further information on the distribution of gross earnings and working hours as well as the level of earnings according to industry, occupation, training, age and gender is available in the Fachserie 16 “Structure of earnings survey“.

An overview of current industry-specific minimum wages can be found at

Detailed information on collective agreements for temporary workers is part of the tariff database of the Federal Statistical Office at (Search for temporary employment with the keyword “temporary work”)

Contact for more information


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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