What Is A Good Salary in Cologne, Germany?

Cologne is ranked the fourth-largest city in Germany, making it a favorite choice for most foreigners as students and professionals. It’s also Germany’s tourist hub, making it a vibrant and diverse city that attracts many immigrants.

A monthly net salary of between 2,500 EUR to 3,500 EUR is a good remuneration. The amount translates to between 5,000 EUR to 5,800 EUR before tax which is a good package. Annually, your gross salary should be around 60,000 EUR to be a good earner.

Cologne is a culturally diverse city and remains a preferred option by most foreigners and international companies. The city also prides itself on having many universities that attract international students. Read on and learn how much you should earn in a month to live comfortably in Cologne in 2023. For more insights, read our in-depth guide on salaries in Germany.

What is a good salary in Cologne (Köln)?

When considering a job opportunity in Cologne, you should first evaluate how much you’ll be remunerated monthly. The information will act as a guide to ensure the shift is worthwhile.

As a single person considering kickstarting your career in Cologne, you should negotiate for a monthly gross salary of 4,000 EUR (48,000 EUR annually). The amount corresponds to around 2,500 EUR net pay which is considered a good earning in Cologne. 

Anything above 2,500 EUR net salary in Cologne is a good remuneration. The amount will afford you a spacious one-bedroom house around the city center. It will also take care of the basics and afford you a few weekend getaways.

The median salary in Cologne falls between 48,000 EUR to 60,000 EUR. A single person earning within this range is in a good place. The amount, however, may not be enough for a family relying on a single income.

Cologne falls in the middle when you compare the cost of living to other cities in Germany. For instance, in Munich, the most expensive city in Germany, earning 3,000 EUR will have you just getting by.

If you compare the cost of living in Berlin to Cologne, the former is cheaper. You’ll have to cough close to 9% more in Cologne for a similar lifestyle in Berlin.


The vibrance of Cologne as a city attracts highly qualified professionals in different sectors earning above the average monthly salary, as seen here:

Source: teleport.com

According to Glassdoor Cologne, opportunities in different sectors remain ripe. Cologne is Germany’s media hub, meaning there are many publishing houses and more options in this sector. The financial industry also thrives in Cologne, and so does manufacturing.

Notably, multinationals aim at attracting top talent and are thus willing to pay good salaries. When evaluating the amount your potential employer offers, several aspects come into play. You need to know your tax obligations and your responsibilities. 

A single person in Cologne earning between 2,500 EUR and 3,000 EUR will still be able to afford the cost of living in Cologne without being extravagant.

The same, however, can’t be said about two adults as the amount won’t be enough to afford them much beyond the regular expenses like a house, food,  and clothing.

It gets more complex when there are kids in the picture. As a foreigner with two kids in Cologne and two adults, you should aim and negotiate for a net salary of between 4,000 EUR and 6,000 EUR, especially when relying on a single income.

Example of a good salary in Cologne

A salary is considered good if it can afford you:

  • Basic needs (shelter, clothes and food)
  • Secondary needs such as good transport, education and insurance
  • Leisure and sports
  • Travel and fun

Ideally, a good salary allows you to have a comfortable lifestyle of your desire without stretching a lot.

A single person earning 2,500 EUR and above in cologne earns a good salary. The amount will comfortably afford the person:

  • Two-room flat: 850 EUR
  • A regular monthly ticket: 100 EUR
  • Groceries: 500 EUR
  • Leisure: 500 EUR
  • Utilities: 450 EUR

From this ongoing analysis, a net salary of 2,500 EUR will leave you with 600 EUR to save, invest and travel.

Your everyday costs will cater for groceries and transport. Since Cologne is a tourist hub, you’ll have access to readily available and affordable groceries compared to Munich, where the costs are higher. 

As a foreigner, you want to account for every EUR; for this reason, most immigrants prefer to live around the city center to avoid high transport and utility costs.

You can have a monthly ticket to handle your transportation if you live within the city center. The taxi business is also big in Cologne and comes in handy when needed.

Here’s a breakdown of the price range of everyday groceries. The amount may vary, however, by 5% over different economic times:

Source: housinganywhere.com

If a couple relied on the same amount, it would be depleted as the expenses would be higher. Kids would change the equation, and the same amount wouldn’t cater to all costs.

Education is free for your kids in Cologne; however, if you opt for private international institutions, you will have to cough some amount. Public schools may also require you to chip in once in a while to cater to extracurricular activities and trips.

A family of four, therefore, should aim for a 4,000 EUR salary to live comfortably and afford a few weekend getaways. If you get 5,000 EUR and above in Cologne, you can manage a few vacations in a year for your family.

For more insights, read our in-depth guide on salaries in Germany.

Average salary in Cologne in 2022

The average salary in Cologne is 2,190 EUR net, while the national minimum is 2,080 EUR gross (12 EUR per hour). For this reason, you should aim to have a net salary of above 2,500 EUR to live comfortably in Cologne, Germany. 

Many skilled workers in Cologne are within the average pay scale. Your entry point in the job market depends on your skill set and experience in the job market.

The dominant industries in Cologne that have never-ending opportunities include

  • Tourism and travel
  • Publishing and media
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Technology

To be able to work in Cologne as a foreigner, you ought to have a residence permit and a minimum wage of 10.45 EUR per hour.

The financial services sector in Cologne is famed for having the best salary packages, with the highest professionals earning above 100,000 EUR.

The breakdown should give you an idea of what to expect in the respective sectors. Use the information for negotiation purposes and get the best rate from the prospective employer.

Below is a breakdown of the average salaries for different jobs in the various sectors.

JobSalary (EUR)
English translator2,300
Software Engineer4,100

Is 60,000 EUR a good salary for a single in Cologne, Germany?

Yes, 60,000 EUR is a good salary for a single person in Cologne. A 60,000 EUR salary can afford the person good housing in a two-bedroom house, a few weekend getaways, and two vacations in the year.

The 60,000 EUR annual salary translates to 5,000 EUR monthly, which is a good amount for a single person.

At this rate, the person will be above the average rate in Germany and belongs to the 20 % of the working population in German who earn above the average salary.

Earning this amount in Cologne, Germany, before tax will correspond to a net annual salary of around 40,000 EUR and a monthly net amount of 3,300 EUR, which is a decent salary in Cologne.

A 3,300 EUR net salary in Cologne will afford the person a good life, with the total expenses summing up to 2,500 EUR as the rest is retained for savings and investments. 

Here’s a breakdown:

  • One-bedroom flat: 900 EUR
  • Groceries: 400 EUR
  • Leisure and sports: 400 EUR
  • Transport: 100 EUR
  • Leisure: 700 EUR

As a single person, the amount is decent enough to live comfortably in Cologne, even affording a few getaways to the many historical sites in Cologne and its surroundings.


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