How much are civil engineers paid

How much does a civil engineer earn?

Whether in business or in the public sector: civil engineers are in demand in all areas. Civil engineers plan and construct various types of construction projects. The current income study by INGENIEUR.de shows how much a civil engineer earns.

Photo: panthermedia.net/pressmaster

According to the current salary study by INGENIEUR.de, income in the construction industry recorded an increase of 1.7%. Newcomers to the engineering profession received between 40,000 and 50,000 euros gross annual salary in 2019. Experienced civil engineers achieved an income of up to 60,000 euros, which corresponds to an increase of 0.6%. In 2019, the gross annual salaries of the participants in the study (career starters and engineers with professional experience) averaged 61,100 euros (+ 0.5% compared to the previous year).

Civil engineers with professional experience earn 55,000 euros

Civil engineers with more than two years of professional experience earned on average in 2019 55.300 Euro. Here the salary development has remained stable, because in 2018 the average was 55,000 euros. Young professionals can start with a salary of around 45,400 euros calculate. In 2018, the salary was 44,600 euros.

Studying in Civil engineering With an average gross annual salary of 45,600 euros in 2019, it again includes the lowest earnings prospects. After civil engineers were able to record particularly large increases in 2018 as a result of the construction boom and numerous infrastructure projects in Germany, salaries in 2019 rose only moderately by 1.2% compared to the previous year.

Construction industry with a great need for engineers

Row houses, motorways or bridges: civil engineers are building the future. Despite the Corona crisis, the industry is looking positively to the future. Civil engineers can take advantage of this development and find exciting job offers. The same applies to civil engineers as to any other engineer: the higher the position, the better the earnings. As a department head, the income study determined an annual salary of84,000 euros.

Are you looking for a job as a civil engineer? Take a look at our job exchange.

Digitization determines the construction industry

Digitization in construction and the increasing pressure on earnings for manufacturers of building materials are among the decisive developments for the next few months. The construction industry also sees considerable potential in the areas of climate protection, sustainability and the maintenance and expansion of infrastructure. In addition to the pure construction activity, civil engineers must also offer the development, operation and utilization of structural engineering services. Skills that go beyond their technical equipment are in demand.

Tablets and digital assistance systems should help civil engineers.

Photo: panthermedia.net/AndreyPopov

Whether it's know-how in project management, knowledge of building law and, last but not least, the innovations due to digitization - civil engineers always have to keep up with the times. The industry has been driving the potential of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for a long time. The method is based on an object-oriented 3D model to which all planning and construction partners have access. You can find out more about BIM here.

Salary comparison: civil engineers are still paid less than their colleagues

Despite all the joy about the increase in recent years: Experienced civil engineers are paid significantly less than engineers in other disciplines. Accordingly, specialist and project engineers in the construction industry received 2019 48,675 euros (middle quartile). In the upper quartile, 56,000 euros were in it. Project engineers in mechanical and plant engineering, on the other hand, earned an average of 56,200 euros. However, specialist engineers in the construction industry are still ahead of colleagues from engineering and planning offices. Here project engineers received an average of 48,000 euros.

Tip: In Germany, the “Fee Regulations for Architects and Engineers” (HOAI) apply to all the outdoors commissioned to plan construction projects. It guarantees both a binding price level and the possibility of suing fixed fees in court. Because the costs and efforts of freelancers, the responsibility to land orders and thus money, partially outweighs the plus compared to the permanent colleagues. More about self-employment

Starting salary for engineers: young professionals were able to increase their income

In 2017, the salary slips had an average starting salary of 43,500 euros and thus cemented a new income level. In 2018, entry-level salaries rose by 2.6% and averaged EUR 44,650. Another increase in 2019: young civil engineers received 45,415 euros.

You can influence your starting salary to a certain extent, namely through your own Academic degree. Those who drop out after completing their bachelor's degree earned a maximum starting salary of 50,000 euros. That is around 6,000 euros less than the colleague with a scientific university degree, i.e. a master’s degree. In the meantime it has become above the level of the Dipl.-Ing. leveled off and thus seems to find its intended place in the economy. In addition, the choice of university is turning the wage screw: degrees at universities and technical colleges are slightly better endowed than those at universities of applied sciences.

With all these factors, from the Bologna degrees to the type of university to the doctorate, one should keep in mind that in the end it always depends on the position sought in the working world, which criteria are perceived as a plus and which as a minus point. After all, you can not only be underqualified, but also overqualified - especially if you have many years of study but no professional experience can be proven.

Civil engineers: keep your eyes open when choosing an employer

But there is another adjustment screw that can be turned: the choice of employer. Because the size of the company for which an engineer works is also decisive for the amount of the remuneration. While specialist and project engineers in a small company are on average just under 50,000 euros earn an average of around 17,000 euros more per year in a large corporation. For a division manager, the size of the company can make up a large part of his salary (for example 72,000 euros in companies with 1 50 employees compared to 129,500 euros in large corporations with more than 5,000 employees).

The following applies across all industries: the larger the company, the more is paid at the end of the month. Of course, one can now say that the smaller competitors pay less, but have at least as exciting activities to offer for civil engineers as the big ones. But with regard to salary, the following applies: A small company or planning office and companies that are located in a structurally weak region pay lower wages on average than their large competitors.

Civil engineers are paid more salaries in the West

There is still a clear east-west divide in Germany. The salaries of engineers in all East German districts are below the salary level in the west of the republic. The civil engineer who works for a large company in western Germany can calculate the best chances in the salary poker. In Düsseldorf, the gross annual fees are in the middle quartile 64,500 euros.

At least that's true in theory. If it weren't for all the other influencing factors.

These regions have the highest engineering salaries in Germany

That's how much engineers earn in metropolitan areas.

Consider working hours and variable remuneration in the salary poker game

There are three soft factors to consider in salary poker, because they make a big difference in annual salaries.

• Are you entitled to vacation and / or Christmas bonuses?
• How long are your contractually regulated weekly working hours?
• Does your annual salary include a variable component?

That Vacation and Christmas bonuses To please the employees is clear anyway. According to the income study, more than half of the engineers receive neither vacation nor Christmas bonuses. 45% of engineers with less than two years of professional experience receive Christmas and vacation pay. The situation is very similar for those with professional experience: Here it is 46% of those surveyed who receive special payments.

That is more in need of explanation when it comes to working hours: civil engineers are among the hardworking engineers. The weekly working time of employees covered by collective agreements is on average 45 hours per week, it is just as high for non-collective bargaining employees and slightly less for non-collective bargaining employees. Managers, on the other hand, work an average of 46 hours a week. What does all this have to do with the salary? Quite simply: Anyone who has a contractually agreed 45-hour week but does an average of one hour of unpaid overtime each week reduces their own salary by around 10% at the end of the year. This connection should be kept in mind, especially when it comes to salary increases.

And now to the variable remuneration components: Although they do not play a major role in the construction industry compared to other engineering disciplines, they make up an average of 5% of wages.

Conclusion: civil engineers are optimistic about the future

Anyone looking for a permanent position can take a look at our job portal for civil engineers. Those who are well positioned digitally can, for example, quickly join construction companies that work with BIM projects. Otherwise, negotiating skills and a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your own profile are particularly helpful. You can get support in our career area.

You can download a free excerpt from the study “Salaries for Engineers 2019” here. The complete income study can be ordered as a PDF here.

Other topics:

What does a civil engineer actually do?

Job dictionary: construction manager

The top 5 building trends 2020

A contribution by:

  • Sarah Janczura

    Sarah Janczura is content manager and responsible editor for ingenieur.de. After an internship with a focus on social media, she worked as an online editor in a digital agency. She writes about technology, research and career topics.