Many industries pay poorly: Who benefits from a minimum wage of twelve euros?

Many industries pay badly
Who will benefit from a minimum wage of twelve euros?

The Greens, the SPD and the Left are demanding a minimum wage of at least twelve euros. According to a study, different industries, groups of people and regions would benefit from the implementation. The experts attribute the fact that many wages are significantly lower today to a development.

According to a study by the Hans Böckler Foundation, people from many professional groups would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros per hour. Employees in medical practices, law firms and office workers could expect more money for their work. Employees in smaller companies without collective bargaining coverage are therefore also among the main beneficiaries.

Women would benefit above average, especially if they work part-time or have a fixed-term contract, according to the study by the Institute for Economic and Social Sciences (WSI) of the union-affiliated Hans Böckler Foundation. Regionally, a higher minimum wage would mainly reach employees in the east and north of the republic.

“Nobody is completely safe from working for a short or long period of time for a low wage in the course of their professional life,” explained WSI tariff expert Malte Lübker. But there are a number of factors that significantly increase the risk of low wages. In particular, this includes gender, part-time work or a fixed-term employment contract. An employer without a collective bargaining agreement, a company size of less than 100 employees as well as helper or training activities are risk factors.

Collective bargaining coverage has been shrinking considerably since the turn of the millennium

According to the study, even a multi-year, completed vocational training is no guarantee of a higher hourly wage. Among the 50 professions that are most often paid with hourly wages of less than twelve euros, there were traditional training professions such as hairdresser, bakery salesman or florist. According to the study, there is also an increased risk of hourly wages of less than twelve euros for businessmen and women in retail, specialist employees in law firms and dental assistants.

According to the WSI study, an important explanation is the decreasing collective bargaining coverage in Germany: While at the turn of the millennium 68 percent of companies were still paying according to collective bargaining agreements, in 2020 it was only 51 percent. “That is why today many people would benefit from a higher minimum wage who would previously have been part of the middle class because of their solid education,” explained Lübker. The long-term goal must therefore be “that these employees are paid again according to collective agreements that guarantee wages that are adequate to their qualifications above the applicable minimum wage”.

For the investigation, the salary information of almost 200,000 employees from the salary portal was evaluated. is scientifically supervised by the WSI.