Low Wages in the Service Sector in Eastern Germany: Extent and Reasons
In recent years, employment has grown noticeably in Germany. Although this is good news, some people criticize that many jobs are low-paid, i.e. the wage is less than two thirds of the medium wage. An eye-catching example is the service sector in Eastern Germany. However, a systematic analysis of this sector in Eastern Germany is missing until now. The article closes this gap in the literature. Concerning the whole service sector in Eastern Germany, about 25 percent of the employees get a low (gross) wage. This is not much more than the average of all sectors. However, in some branches of the service sector, much more employees get low wages. More than 40% of the employees of retail trade, restaurant business and services near to companies (“unternehmensnahe Dienstleistungen”) are paid low. The probability to get a low wage is significantly higher for women and the so-called minijobbers. Since the tax system adjusts differences, all calculations were also done for net wages. On the one hand, the part of low-paid workers decreases for all branches and all subpopulations. On the other hand, the probability to get a low wage does not differ anymore between minijobbers and full-time employees. Thus, the tax system does not only reduce low-paid employment, it also changes its structure.