Career Advice
February 9, 2022

No transparency in Germany's job ads: Desired salary becomes mandatory information for applicants

No transparency in Germany's job ads: Desired salary becomes mandatory information for applicants

In 2022, it is still common knowledge in Germany for applicants to estimate their own salary during an application process. For the most part, Germany's DAX 40 companies and top-funded start-ups still require a salary request with online applications. This is the result of an analysis of the application process of online applications for IT professionals by Taledo's recruiting experts. 

In the course of a hiring process, the applicant and the company get to know each other better. Often, this process is made even more efficient with links from profiles already created on career networks such as LinkedIn, XING or even web-based profiles like those at Taledo. Information such as name and work experience, as well as previous employers or education, is filled in automatically with a click, eliminating the need for tedious typing. However, there is one piece of information that always brings a sweat to the brow of applicants - especially those just starting out their career journeys: The desired annual target salary.

This information helps companies to filter applicants at this point. Occasionally, applicants with salary expectations that are too high are directly removed from the shortlist and are no longer considered for further assessment. In this way, possible costs can be efficiently assessed to estimate whether the company can afford the applicant at all. 

What DAX 40 companies are increasingly discarding, start-ups are taking to heart

At many DAX 40 companies (13), this field is still mandatory, but just over half (21) now see it as unnecessary and do not require an exact annual amount. 
An overview of the ratios between DAX 40 companies and start-ups is listed in the following table:

Study period: December 2021; Sources: All information was collected from the career pages of the respective companies.

More startups than DAX 40 companies request an exact amount of the desired salary in the online form or generally when applying online. Some examples are include the cooking box supplier HelloFresh, the high-tech robot startup Agile Robots and the store buyer Razor Group. Online broker Trade Republic, Adjust and software developer Mambu are among two-fifths of startups that do not ask for a salary and do not consider it a necessary specification. 

Only at ten start-ups is it optional to submit a salary expectation during your applicationl. These include the delivery service Gorillas, the HR management and software provider Personio and the real estate agent McMakler.

No improvements in sight with the DAX 40 companies

Deutsche Post, telecommunications service provider Deutsche Telekom and online mail order company Zalando (and ten other DAX 40 companies) require a salary proposal from applicants. At these companies, therefore, the application cannot be sent off without adding a desired salary.

All the DAX 40 companies are listed below:

More than half of the DAX 40, in turn, do not ask for a salary in the application process. The sporting goods manufacturer Adidas, the chemicals group BASF and the manufacturer of passenger cars and commercial vehicles Daimler do not insist on salary information from applicants - at least not in the application form.


Surprisingly, startups are more ambiguous in their job advertisements compared to DAX 40 companies. More startups than corporations ask applicants for a salary requirement, and this trend does not seem to be abating anytime soon. Now the question arises: How should applicants proceed when employers ask for the desired annual target salary?

Applications with salary requirements are a major hurdle, especially for graduates and inexperienced employees. Fresh out of university or training, many simply lack the experience to properly assess salaries in the German job market. During school or university, there are usually no courses, information events or other training courses on how to deal with salary requests or how to assess one's own market value.

As long as the majority of companies insist on the specification of the desired salary in the application process, it is up to you to estimate a suitable salary and attach it to the application. Therefore, it is important to inform yourself in advance: There are many websites that offer different salary suggestions according to industry, entry level, size of the company and also state. It is best to research several such sites right away and estimate an approximate desired salary through the info gathered.

These include:

It is also beneficial to check the potential employer on various review sites. How do former employees rate the salary relationship to the work they do? To be really sure, more than one source is important. 

These are the common sites to check potential employers:

However, these websites are not the only solution. Creativity in research is an advantage. Friends, acquaintances, relatives, online forums can also be a great help. Sometimes you even get good advice in unexpected places - online games, social media like Instagram or the forum of a popular TV series. The possibilities are endless.

An alternative application option, for example, is Taledo with web-based profiles. This allows applicants to easily apply for multiple job openings - applicants receive salary and title in advance when requesting from companies.

More detailed information about the different application processes and which documents are most important within an application can be found in our blog post CV, certificates and cover letter: Online application check of the DAX 40 and top start-ups in Germany.

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