Whether in business or from the public sector: civil engineers
are in demand in all areas. Civil engineers plan and construct
all kinds of construction projects. The current income study
shows how much a civil engineer earns.
According to the latest
salary study, construction income rose by 1.7%. Beginners in
engineering received a gross annual salary of between 40,000 and
50,000 euros 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 study
participants overall (young professionals and engineers with
professional experience) averaged 61,100 euros (+ 0.5% compared
to the previous year).
Civil engineers with professional experience earn 55,000
Civil engineers with more than two years of professional
experience earned an average of 55,300 euros in
2019. Here the salary development has remained stable, because
in 2018 the average was 55,000 euros. Young professionals can
expect a salary of around 45,400 euros. In 2018
the salary was still 44,600 euros.
With an average gross annual salary of EUR 45,600 in 2019,
studying civil engineering 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 rose only moderately in 2019 by 1.2% compared
to the previous year.
Construction industry with great need for engineers
Terraced house, highway or bridges: civil engineers are
building the future. Despite the Corona crisis, the industry is
positive about 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 calculated an annual salary of 84,000 euros.
Digitization determines the construction industry
The digitization in construction and the increasing pressure
on earnings for manufacturers of building materials are among
the decisive developments for the coming 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 pure
construction work, civil engineers must also offer the
development, operation and utilization of construction services.
Skills that go beyond their technical skills are required.
Whether 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.
Salary comparison: Civil engineers are still paid less than
Despite all the joy of the increase in recent years:
experienced civil engineers are paid significantly less than
engineers from other disciplines. According to this, technical
and project engineers in the construction industry received
48,675 euros (middle quartile) in 2019. The
upper quartile was 56,000 euros. Project engineers in mechanical
and plant engineering, on the other hand, already earned an
average of 56,200 euros. Specialist engineers in the
construction industry are still ahead of colleagues from
engineering and planning offices. Project engineers received an
average of 48,000 euros here.
Tip: The “Fee Schedule for Architects and
Engineers” (HOAI) applies to all freelancers commissioned with
the planning of construction projects. It guarantees both a
binding price level and the possibility to sue fixed fees in
court. Because the costs and efforts of freelancers, the
responsibility to land orders themselves and thus money, partly
outweighs the plus compared to their permanent colleagues.
Starting salary for engineers: young professionals were able
to increase their income
In 2017, the salary slips had an average starting salary of
EUR 43,500, thereby consolidating a new level of income. In
2018, starting salaries rose by 2.6% and averaged € 44,650.
Another increase in 2019: young civil engineers received 45,415
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 have a
maximum starting salary of 50,000 euros. That is around 6,000
euros less than a colleague with a university degree, i.e. a
master's degree. It has now risen above the level of Dipl.-Ing.
leveled off and seems to find its intended place in the economy.
Incidentally, the choice of the university also turns the salary
screw: degrees at universities and technical colleges are
slightly better endowed than those at universities of applied
With all these factors, from the Bologna degrees through the
university form to the doctorate, one should consider that in
the end it always depends on the position sought in the world of
work, which criteria are perceived as positive and which as
negative points. After all, you can not only be underqualified,
but also overqualified - especially if many years of study but
no professional experience can be proven.
Civil engineers: keep your eyes open when choosing an
But another set screw can be turned: the choice of the
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 earn an average of almost
50,000 euros in a small company, the average in
a large corporation is around 17,000 euros more annually. 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
1,500 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 say that the smaller competitors pay less, but have at
least as exciting jobs for civil engineers as the big ones. But
in terms of 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
In the west, more wages are paid for civil engineers
There is still a clear west-east divide in Germany. The
engineering salaries of all east German districts are below the
salary level in the west of the republic. The best chance in the
salary poker can be calculated by the civil engineer who hires
from a large company in western Germany. In Düsseldorf, the
gross annual wages in the middle quartile are 64,500
At least that's true in theory. If it weren't for all the
other influencing factors.
Consider working hours and variable salary poker salary
There are three soft factors to consider in salary poker,
because they make a big difference in annual salary.
- Are you entitled to vacation and / or Christmas bonuses?
- What is your contractually regulated weekly working
- Does your annual salary contain variable remuneration
In any case, it is clear that employees enjoy holiday
and Christmas bonuses. According to the income study,
more than half of the engineers receive neither vacation nor
Christmas bonus. 45% of engineers with less than two years of
professional experience receive Christmas and holiday bonuses.
The situation is very similar for experienced professionals: 46%
of those surveyed receive special payments.
This is more difficult to explain in terms of working hours:
civil engineers are among the heavy workers among engineers. The
weekly working hours of employees with collective agreements is
45 hours per week on average, just as high for non-collective
employees and slightly less for non-collective 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: If
you have a contractually agreed 45-hour week, but do an hour of
unpaid extra work every week, your own salary is reduced 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 the other engineering disciplines, on average they
make up a good 5% of wages.
Conclusion: civil engineers are optimistic about the future
If you are looking for a permanent position, you can take a
look at our job portal for civil engineers. If you are well
positioned digitally, you can quickly get into construction
companies that work with BIM projects. Otherwise, negotiation
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.