Academic Jobs in Germany
TV-L Salary Scale
Most doctoral student positions in Germany are advertised as TV-L 13. What is that? Here is a quick reference:
TV or TVÖD stands for "Tarifvertrag im Öffentlichen Dienst" – it means tariffs for German civil service employees. The TV tariffs determine the salary based on experience and family situation; there is normally no variability based on negotiation or location. These tariffs are regularly adjusted for inflation.
TV-L 13 or TV-L E13
TV level 13 or "Entgeltgruppe 13" is the tariff that doctoral students in high-demand occupations like engineering, computer science and applied math qualify for. For a single person, this means a gross salary of about €4000 per month and about €4300 after one year. Compared to many doctoral stipends in the US, this is a pretty good deal. Working hours are 39.83 per week. That is 10 minutes and 12 seconds less than 40 – talk about German precision! Paid vacation is 30 days per year, if that is what you are into.
Other less-in-demand occupations often pay a percentage of a full salary, for example 50% or 75%. As mentioned above, this does not apply to engineering positions.
Some doctoral positions involved stipends rather than salaries; these were typically part of research training groups like "Graduiertenkolleg", for example a group of doctoral students working on a single theme. These ranged between standard €1100 and augmented €1500. The advantage of these positions is a structured doctoral program that leads to a doctorate in about 3 years after Masters. Some programs like the AICES graduate school offered stipends of €2000, which is more competitive with the TV-L 13 scale, while offering the benefits of a structured doctoral program. Most of the stipend programs were phased out around 2017, and are using the TV-L contracts instead.
Postdocs are often paid on the same pay scale as the doctoral students, for example TV-L 13. By virtue of being older and having more experience, that may mean higher salary though. Also, postdoctoral positions with special responsibilities, such as junior research group leaders, may carry higher salary category, for example TV-L 14 or even TV-L 15. Working hours remain, alas, at the magic 39.83 hours per week.
If you know a bit of German, a TV calculator can help determine exactly brutto salary, based on your age, experience and family status. Average salaries together with benefits are also listed in this german document from the DFG.
Fascinated? We probably have some TV-L positions available...