Mittwoch, 20. Mai 2009

Where's the Money?

Ever wondered what people in certain professions earn? Well, Destatis collects data on pretty much everything, including the gross income of "Freiberufler" (a German term for people that maintain a "private practice" instead of being employed by a company), as reported to the tax authorities.

For the year 2004 (you might want to add 10 % inflation for a 2009 equivalent), the following are average reported earnings:

Notaries: 209,305 €
Patent Lawyers: 154,488 €
Dentists: 119,639 €
Medical Practitioners: 117,770 €
Tax Accountants: 84,036 €
Wirtschaftsprüfer (CPAs): 82,664 €
Lawyers: 62,311 €
Veterinarians: 47,483 €
Architects: 36,128 €
Writers: 31,370 €
Journalists: 22,671 €
Interpreters: 20,920 €

(Note: I used the table referring to those with more than half of their total income from this activity. If everyone is included, the average drops, but I figure "part-timers" distort the picture and should be excluded.)

(Thanks to Der Spiegelfechter for directing me to the data)


  1. If doctors are literally raking in the money, how come they're out on the streets so often, protesting against allegedly unfair payment and working conditions??

    As to patent attorneys:

    If you're a partner in a large IP firm, you earn loads of money.
    If you work for such an IP firm as an attorney, you most likely earn much less than 154,488 €, but you don't show up in the Destatis data because you're not self-employed (nichtselbstständig).
    The third group of patent attorneys, which would be self-employed attorneys without employees, most likely also earn much less than 154,488 € because they spend so much time on unpayed paperwork and bureaucratic stuff.

    So maybe the partners of large IP firms greatly distort these statistics.

    Pretty strange data anyway.

  2. Regarding doctors: I remember reading an article in a magazine, where they interviewd a general practioner. The guy said he doesn't understand why his colleagues make such a fuss. His own practice is "nothing special", and he usually pulls in 8,000 € per month, which he considers to be perfectly decent money. Considering that general practioners earn a bit below average, and he called his practice "nothing special", that sort of confirms the average doctors' salary listed above, I suppose.

    As for patent attorney: You make a good point. Actually, I'm not quite sure how "freiberuflich" is defined. According to the link below, a doctor can be employed by another doctor but still be considered "Freiberufller". Not sure how this is determined, but maybe employed lawyers can also be "Freiberufler" under certain circumstances, even if they haven't made "partner" status. No idea.