Gehaltsvorstellung formulieren

Formulating salary expectations – how to do it right

Having to formulate your own salary expectations can sometimes be very difficult. Because often you don’t even know your own market value. We’ll give you helpful rules and tips to prepare for your interview.

Determination of the own desired salary

After all, the real question is, what is my desired salary and what amount is appropriate? In any case: Being confident in your salary expectations is always a good thing. In almost every job posting today it is normal that you should write your salary requirement in the application.

This question is not so simple. If you poker too high, you’re out right away. If your idea is too low, you don’t know your value. The question is a particular headache for people starting out in their careers , such as students, pupils and trainees.

There are several ways to formulate a serious salary expectation and increase your chances of getting an interview:

Job boards and salary comparisons

On many job boards, you can find salary information in addition to job listings. For this purpose, the site operators request the current position and annual salary from their registered members.

In this way, average values can be determined and you already have a starting point. Nevertheless, as a young professional you have to weigh up again whether the salary is with work experience or not. But you at least know an approximate salary level.

Salary scales of associations

Professional associations and trade unions also provide information on salaries customary in the industry. The Association of German Engineers (VDI), for example, offers regularly updated salary studies. There are also salary tables and salary comparisons for entry-level salaries.

Federal Employment Agency

The German Federal Employment Agency offers a pay alta, with a search function by job title, state, age group, and gender. So it’s worth checking out the website.

Consult your environment

Even though salaries are still almost never discussed, you can ask your friends and acquaintances how much they earn. Especially if someone you know works in a similar industry. You can also use business networks like Xing or LinkedIn and ask about the usual salaries in the industry.

Public tariff tables

If your job is paid according to a collective agreement , you can find out your monthly salary to the penny. In most public pay scales, the salary is given by pay scale group and work experience (in years).

These factors influence the salary

There are big differences depending on the industry, profession and work experience. The following influencing factors affect your salary:


Rural areas do not earn as much as urban and other metropolitan areas.

Number of employees

The larger the company, the more specialized the employees, which leads to higher salaries in each case.


As a young professional, you will naturally earn less than someone who has been working for ten years. In addition also earn Professional and managerial staff more.

Company size

In a large (international) company, salaries are usually higher than in small (family) companies.


Of course, your qualifications also have a big influence. The more qualified, specialized and trained you are, the more you can earn.


Yes, even the state has an impact on your salary. The highest salaries are paid in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. The lowest in Saxony, Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Do I have to state my salary requirements?

A clear answer: Yes. If the company you are applying for explicitly asks for a salary requirement, you should also state your salary requirement.

Whether you’re uncomfortable or afraid of giving the wrong answer, not disclosing your salary can kick you right out of the application process. Because if you don’t include the specifically mentioned salary requirement, your application is not complete.

Should I state my salary requirement without prompting?

You can also tell the employer your salary expectations without being asked. That way, the recruiter knows what salary league you’re in. But be sure to do some research beforehand to find out roughly what the average salary is – especially if you’re just starting out.

In principle, however, you do not have to do this and it can also have a negative effect on you, so it may be tactically wiser to postpone your salary expectations until the interview. Because if the employer doesn’t explicitly ask for your salary requirement, it’s optional.

Formulate and justify salary expectations

If you are invited to an interview and the recruiter asks you about your salary expectations, you should have a skillful negotiation up your sleeve.

Lay down your best, During the interview, don’t commit to a specific amount, but give a range that you think is justified. But now you also need good and solid arguments Arguments for your salary expectations.

And you should think about these well in advance, so that you suddenly don’t know what to say in the interview. Here are some tips and tricks you should keep in mind:

Never talk about the money first. The first step should be taken by the company. This is because contract discussions are often negotiated only in a second meeting.
Thorough research is an absolute must. Get well informed about the company, the job profile as well as possible salary ranges.
Try to relax. With a confident and calm attitude you signal strength and security
Prepare yourself for counterarguments. Ask yourself the questions your potential worker might ask you.
What are your strengths? Write down at least five strong arguments why you should receive your desired salary. What do you offer the company, what are your qualifications, what added value do you offer the company.
What’s your salary floor? Don’t sell yourself short either. This signals to the recruiter that you know your market value.

Example formulations for the salary requirement

There are different formulations to formulate the salary requirement:

My salary expectation is 45,000 euros gross per year.
Based on my qualifications and knowledge, my salary expectation is 42,000 euros per year.
An annual salary of 37,500 euros gross corresponds to my expectations.
My salary expectations are between 41,500 and 32,500 euros gross per year.  
My salary expectations are in the range of 25,000 euros gross per year.
In line with my professional qualifications, I feel that a salary of 28,000 euros is appropriate.
Based on my professional background, I envision a salary between 35,000 and 38,000 euros per year.
I will be happy to formulate my salary expectations as soon as I have been able to get a precise picture of the advertised position and the associated requirements.
I would be happy to explain my salary requirements in a personal meeting with you.

Frequently asked questions

Edited at: December 7, 2022

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