I am applying for my first postdoc position. How do postdoc salaries in Italy compare with those in Germany? What about the average cost of living for both the countries? Particularly if I compare Trieste with Berlin/Munich

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    The cost of living in Italy and in Germany is highly dependent on which city you will be living in, as the rent differs considerably and will take up a substantial part of your income. Concerning the prices in supermarkets and in restaurants, they are comparable, but again, might differ from city to city.
    – Sursula
    Sep 20, 2023 at 11:01
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    Postdoc salaries in Italy are horrible. (Cost of living is also lower, but that's really off-topic here - you can look up cost of living comparisons between cities pretty easily. Also it's pretty easy to find German salary scales, the Italian job posting I think has to say the salary also, correct?)
    – xxxxxxxxx
    Sep 20, 2023 at 11:01
  • But of course, the coffe in Italy is very much cheaper than in Germany and unarguable better in most places :-)
    – Sursula
    Sep 20, 2023 at 11:02
  • Postdoc salaries in Germany are strictly regulated: oeffentlicher-dienst.info/c/t/rechner/tv-l/… Depending on how much time you spent on your PhD, you'll be classified as 13.2 or 13.3. Sep 20, 2023 at 11:18
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    @Yohana The cost of living is considerably different even from Berlin (cheaper) to Munich (expensive). In Germany, you will get the same regulated salary everywhere, no matter how much the cost of living - no matter if the city is much more expensive. The same money will get you much further in Berlin than in Munich.
    – Sursula
    Sep 20, 2023 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


The comparison is here:


However I would strongly suggest you to not consider too much the financial aspects in your PostDoc choice: it is a transient period, you should start looking for your next position from day1 of your PostDoc, so other things are very relevant, a PostDoc salary is just fine to enjoy the place you live, whether it is in Italy or in Germany or in Spain.

Good luck!

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    "it is a transient period" You mean, like this? "Ah, your're 25, completed your Master's degree and want to do a PhD now? Well, I can only pay you a 50% salary for the next 4 years, but you know - a PhD is for your qualification mainly." "Ah, you're 29 and want to start your first postdoc? Well, the salary at our university sucks compared to the cost of living, but you know - our group is great and has a fantastic network, this can only benefit you in the long run." "Ah, you're 31 and want to do your second postdoc? Well, the salary is quite low, but you know - Sep 20, 2023 at 13:15
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    - this is the job from which you will apply to permanent positions, so a good working environment should certainly be more important to you right now than financial aspects." "So, you're 34 and want to have this job as a junior software developer because your academic career still hasn't worked out and you and your partner are pissed off from moving around without any finanical security? Welcome to our company, we offer you nice family benefits along the same salary as this 25 year old collegue over there who just completed their Master's degree." (Sorry for the cynic in me breaking loose.) Sep 20, 2023 at 13:16
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    @JochenGlueck - although an assistant professor leaving for industry could say pretty much the same thing. I have no regrets about my pay as a grad student or a postdoc, but that was some decades ago. It certainly seems that housing, in particular, has gotten much more expensive, and salaries overall of everyone are not keeping up with that.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:08
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    @JonCuster While comparing salaries is straightforward (salary A > salary B), assessing a position's long-term benefit is tricky, especially as a Postdoc with more autonomy. I once chose a role thinking it was the best move, but in hindsight, it wasn't. Many of my peers progressed just as well, if not better in average universities/research labs. I'm not suggesting this is universally true, but it was my personal experience/ opinion as well as yours. Everyone's journey is unique, so what seems right for one might not be for another. It's all quite subjective.
    – Yacine
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:25
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    @Yacine - indeed, how things play out is impossible to forecast with certainty. For my postdoc, the fact that it was in Amsterdam was more important than the specific salary (which was more than enough to get by).
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:28

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