Economy & Politics

Nursing and retail workers remain poorly paid

The cashiers in the supermarkets will be paid well below the national average in the coming years. Photo: dpa / Tom Weller


According to a study, employees in retail and nursing will continue to earn significantly less than the national average in the coming years.

Berlin – According to a study, employees who are important to society, such as carers or supermarket cashiers, will lose out in terms of income development in the coming years. In the health and social sector, gross annual earnings will be around 4,400 euros below the average income in 2025, and in retail even 10,200 euros lower, as forecast by Prognos AG on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation. The lower wage groups are even threatened with real income losses.

The wage growth in the industries is related to the respective productivity growth, explained the Bertelsmann Stiftung: Employees with specialist knowledge, in industries with collective bargaining agreements and in capital-intensive sectors benefit the most. In the labor-intensive sectors of health care or retail, on the other hand, the growth in labor productivity by 2025 will be only about half as high as in manufacturing and the chemical and electrical industries. The scope for wage increases is correspondingly smaller.

Demand of the foundation

Small wage increases, however, “eat up inflation,” explained Torben Stühmeier, head of studies at the Bertelsmann Foundation. According to the forecast, the real disposable income of the lower income groups will decline by around two percent by 2025.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung is therefore calling for productivity increases to be “put on the agenda” even in labor-intensive industries. The digitization of processes and documentation, for example, still offers “plenty of potential to increase productivity”. In the end, the workforce will also benefit from this, according to the study.

Corona bonus just a drop in the ocean

The one-time corona bonus agreed for the public service, on the other hand, does not change anything in the overall situation, explained Stühmeier. “It can be predicted that the coronavirus is likely to exacerbate existing imbalances.”



The pandemic hit the hospitality industry and many private services particularly hard. Around eleven percent of all employees work here, including an above-average number of women and single parents. The sectors pay low wages in comparison and in view of the economic situation there is likely to be little room for significant wage increases in the next few years.

Current reports, background information worth knowing and useful tips – in our dossier we bundle all articles on Corona.

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