New website for wage information in Germany

The Institute for Economic and Social Research (WSI) launched in July 2005 the starting version of a new non commercial and free of charge online salary check on www.lohnspiegel.de. The salary check is a key product of a website which is established with the support of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) and its affiliates. This website aims at providing users with online information on wages, salaries, bonus payments and other labour market-related information. It is part of a European project co-ordinated by the AIAS-Institute of the University of Amsterdam. The project involves research about wage differentials, the gender pay gap, collective bargaining coverage and working time preferences.

The Institute for Economic and Social Research in the Hans-Boeckler-Foundation (Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut in der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, WSI) launched in July 2005 the starting version of a new non-commercial and free of charge online salary check on www.lohnspiegel.de. The new salary check is a core product of a broader website established in autumn 2004 with the support of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB) and its affiliates. The website addresses a wider public providing labour-market related information around topics such as wages, bonus payments and other wage-related information. A core product of the site is a salary check providing information on effectively paid wages related to a set of variables such as gender, work experience, firm size or supervisory position. The salary check is based on an online questionnaire completed by users of the website. The German website is part of a broader European WageIndicator project which is co-ordinated by the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) of the University of Amsterdam. The German salary check is modelled on the Dutch WageIndicator website established in 2000.

The anonymous data collected for the salary check will also be used for academic research focussing on four issues:

  • perceptions of pay discrimination by gender or ethnicity in relation to any factual pay gap;
  • preferences for more or fewer working hours in relation to current hours;
  • attitudes towards collective bargaining coverage in relation to actual coverage by agreements;
  • Perceptions of job insecurity in relation to dismissals and reorganisations at the workplace.

A first quantitative analysis based on about 20,000 questionnaires showed that 35% of respondents had a university degree. Men are overrepresented and account for almost 72% of all respondents. More than 57% of respondents work in companies covered by a collective agreement. This coverage seems to have positive effects on bonus payments as employees working in companies covered by a collective agreement are about twice as likely to receive holiday or Christmas bonuses. Annual pay rises do not seem to be a matter of course as 57% answered not to have received a pay increase in the preceding 12 months.

The WSI and the DGB trade unions consider the new salary as a means to improve wage transparency. To promote the site the WSI co-operates with newspapers and magazines.

This information is made available through the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO), as a service to users of the EIROnline database. EIRO is a project of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. However, this information has been neither edited nor approved by the Foundation, which means that it is not responsible for its content and accuracy. This is the responsibility of the EIRO national centre that originated/provided the information. For details see the "About this record" information in this record.

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