The 2019 Digital Salary Benchmark: Berlin

With a rapidly growing digital scene across Germany, Berlin remains the central hub for talent. What does this mean for digital talents salaries…

Berlin has seen a continuation of rapid changes since 2018.  In a fast-paced tech-driven market, businesses and candidates alike have had to evolve to keep their competitive edge.

As part of our 2019, Salary series Cogs have created four individual digital salary benchmarks for our locations. We have collected data from our extensive databases and market research. The benchmarks cover the vast spectrum of the digital industry from design studios and startups to management consultancies – therefore some of the bands are broad. 

A Hub for Startups

Every 14 hours a new startup is founded in Berlin, according to Gruenderszene Berlin has become the hub of the German startup scene. It has long been a location of innovation and creativity and it is an obvious choice for new businesses to begin. Thanks to an expanding infrastructure of financing and funding, numerous incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces have also cropped up across the city. It is an ideal place for creative-minded people who want to change the world.


Many of the country’s Fortune 500 Brands have also chosen Berlin as the city to build their Innovation Labs to attract the best talent pool from across the globe.

Internationalisation is picking up. More clients are open to talent from the UK and abroad. There is a noticeable influx of UK talent due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and German businesses are becoming more open to it.

While many clients facing roles still requiring fluent German speakers (i.e strategy, client services, project management), candidates with tech or creative backgrounds are finding they can get by with English. English is becoming more and more acceptable at many startups, who hire a slew of international talent.

Cogs has a global reach, so we have a vast network of talent often relocating talent from Asia and across Europe. Thus we are able to provide an eclectic mix of cutting edge talent to businesses across Berlin and Germany, a very challenging, but fulfilling task.

Driven by design

Digital transformation, customer experience, machine learning are all topics that are very hot right now, not just in Berlin but across Europe. Trends such as customer-centricity and building design driven cultures are evolving and we see that many companies are putting the process of ‘product to experience’ at the top of their agenda for 2019.

Design is clearly becoming a C-level priority for growth and long-term performance. We are noticing that many management consultancies are now acquiring design and advertising agencies or building their own in-house design studios to accelerate this. This has meant there is an evolving need for more design, brand and product-driven candidates in the city.

Evolution of consultancies

Management consultancies especially are trying to monopolise the whole comms process from strategy to delivery. A spectacular example of this is the Accenture’s acquisition at the end of 2018 of the renowned advertising agency Kolle Rebbe in Hamburg.

On the other side of the fence are Creative Agencies, who are now competing with Management Consultancies by increasing their strategy competencies.

In an effort to become more strategic, they are looking to hire business designers and strategists, who are able to deliver innovation, brand and business strategy to their clients. It is fascinating to see the effect the changing market is having on all businesses.

In our opinion, Brand Design agencies have the biggest advantage. They are still independently owned and are quality driven. They are close to brands, get the buy-in from the client and have access to the C-suite behind some of the largest global brands. Brand Design Agencies cover all aspects of the brand – and can collaborate on tech and develop impactful brand experiences. The trend we are seeing within brand agencies is a move to strengthen their in-house strategy, UX/UI, Business Design and Tech expertise.

Salary Trends

With regards to the salary trends, it appears that on the mid-weight to senior salaries not a lot has really altered much in the past year. However, director salaries have definitely seen an increase in Germany.

Evolving digital businesses are looking for elite digital talent from Silicon Valley and abroad. These candidates tend to be at a higher end of the pay scale. This trend will inevitably have an effect on overall salaries across the industry and we hope to see an increase at all levels as we head into 2020.

The most challenging issue is that the German digital market on a whole is looking for the same type of talent. Management Consultancies, Innovation Labs, Creative Agencies and Brands all want a wide range of transformational, business savvy and hybrid talent.

The race is now on for who can secure that talent the fastest.


If you are looking for opportunities across Germany, check out our live roles or contact the team today.

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