The IT Freelance Market In Germany – Market Insights


What does the IT freelance market look like in Germany in 2022? freelancermap asked over 2,000 IT freelancers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland about their rates, income, client relationship, and more. We’ve compiled the most interesting insights!

Freelancing, as a trend, has grown significantly in the last few years.

To keep up with this growth, we’ve once again analysed the freelancing market and collected data from various freelancers in Germany to better understand the trends of the current market.

Let’s take a look at some insights down below:

Freelance rates: Hourly rates among IT freelancers remain steady

Corporations and small businesses alike make use of freelancers to benefit from their specific expertise. It’s no surprise then that experienced, highly-skilled freelancers are now breaking records in terms of rates.

Freelancer rates evolution in Germany from 2016 - 2022
Freelancer Rates In Germany – 2022

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, in 2020 and 2021 freelancers kept their rates almost at the same level as they did in 2019. Luckily, a major slump in hourly rates did not occur.

As you can see from the image above, this year freelancers have a higher average hourly rate (€96) than any other year before.

Freelance rates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH region):

Freelance hourly rate 2016€82.13
Freelance hourly rate 2017€87.36
Freelance hourly rate 2018€91.05
Freelance hourly rate 2019€93.89
Freelance hourly rate 2020€94.28
Freelance hourly rate 2021 €94.31
Freelance hourly rate 2022 €96.24

SAP freelancers, in particular, are in demand and the top earners. On average, they increased their rates by €5 compared to last year.

Freelancer Rates In Germany By Field of work
Freelancer Rates In Germany By Field of Work in 2022

Average freelance rates in different fields of work (2021 vs 2022):

Fields Of Work20212022
SAP SAP FICO, ABAP, MM consultant, etc.€111 €116
Management & IT consulting – PMP, Scrum Master, etc.€110 €113
IT infrastructure – DBA, DevOps, Network Admin, etc.€94 €92
Engineering – Electrical, CAD, mechanical, etc.€83 €82
Development – web, mobile, software developer, etc.€83 €89
Design, content, media – Graphic design, video, illustration, etc.€69 €66

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What are the best-paid industries?

According to our report, the Aerospace industry is the highest paid industry with an average hourly rate of €109. The Traffic, Transport and Logistics and Energy industries are a close second (€105) followed by the Insurance industry (€104).

The lowest hourly rates were found to be amongst the Media (€73) and the Tourism industries (€83).

Freelancer Rates In Germany By Industry 2022
Freelancer Rates In Germany By Industry (Freelancer study 2022)

Top paid industries in 2022:

Aerospace €109
Traffic / Transport / Logistics €105
Energy €105
Insurance €104
Banking / Finance €104
Consulting €100
Healthcare / Pharma €100
Retail €99
Telecommunications €98
Industrial €98

Pay gender gap among German freelancers

Freelance Rates In Germany: Women Vs Men 2022
Freelance Rates In Germany in 2022: Women Vs Men

In 2022, the difference in income between men and women in Germany is still significant. Men currently charge on average €97/hour and have a net monthly income of €6,443; whereas women charge €88/hour and have a net monthly income of €4,551. 

What’s more, our report indicates that the vast majority of freelancers (both in Germany and around the world) are currently men (83%). And although there was a 2% increase in the number of women freelancers, this gap between the two genders is still too large. 

Freelance rates in Germany by gender (2022):

Men average hourly rate €97
Women average hourly rate €88

Is work-life balance a reality in Germany?

A healthy work-life balance is essential to everyone but especially to freelancers who are at risk of suffering from burnout whilst working from home. When asked about their working hours, the vast majority of freelancers in Germany said that they worked an average of 42 hours per week. 

This can be considered a high number, especially if you consider the fact that full-time employees in Germany worked an average of 34.5 hours a week in 2021.

In terms of vacation days, the average number of days that freelancers take off in a year was found to be 27. On the other hand, full-time employees in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 vacation days per year. 

In last year’s study, freelancers confirmed that it doesn’t really matter for them if it’s Saturday, Sunday, or a national bank holiday.

40% of freelancers confirmed that they work on Saturdays and 21% also work on Sundays.

However, the majority of freelancers did work Monday to Thursday and 7% of freelancers were taking Fridays off (a 4-day working week).

Portfolio Dragos Muntean

Planning for the future – Retirement

One can never start planning for their retirement too early. Our freelancer market study for this year indicates that freelancers in Germany set aside €1,097 per month for their retirement. 

When asked about the method used to save, the majority of freelancers (58%) stated that they were making use of a state pension, followed by shares and funds (58%), and real estate (54%). 

Cryptocurrencies have moved from the unknown to the limelight, with 18% of freelancers investing in them. 

Retirement Plan For Freelancers - how do they save money?
Retirement Plan For Freelancers – Top investments options

Do freelancers in Germany have enough governmental support?

66% of the freelancers surveyed agree that the German government ought to set up better framework conditions in place for them whereas 7% think that the policies in place already offer freelancers enough support. 

Government Support For Freelancers In Germany
Government Support For Freelancers In Germany

Now that there has been an uptick in the number of self-employed people not just in Germany but all over the world, we should hopefully see more support (in terms of policies and bills) from governments all over the world.

Conclusion: Is freelancing in Germany a good option?

 Eurostat - Self-employment persons without employees 2018 - 2021
Eurostat – Self-Employment Persons Without Employees 2018 – 2021

As you can see above, freelancers are now among the fastest-growing segment of the European workforce. And because Germany was one of the first countries in Europe to adopt freelancing, the growth of the freelancing workforce here has not been as “explosive” in recent years as it has in other EU countries. 

According to Eurostat, the freelance market size in Germany was around 1.1 million freelancers in 2021. This is in line with the steady rate of 1.3 million freelancers since 2009.

Even after the effects of the pandemic on the global economy, or perhaps because of it, the majority of the freelancers in Germany think that the project market is good. 

This is why it is safe to say that freelancing in Germany is a good option not only for freelancers that are currently in the country but also for those hoping to become freelancers in Germany

📖 GUIDE: How to become a freelancer in Germany

If are looking to work as a freelance in Germany and are looking for IT jobs, freelancermap is your best ally. We’ve been helping IT freelancers connect with companies in Germany since 2005.

We have job opportunities in the fields of engineering, development, SAP, consulting and design.

Currently, there are:

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Past studies and insights (2018, 2020)

Freelancer study 2020 – Statistics and Trends

2020 started as a great year for many freelancers. Some people had just started their business in January, others were expecting a better workload this year.

However, in March 2020, with the Coronavirus outbreak, everything changed. 

Key findings in the Freelance German market in 2020:

Freelance rates among IT professionals remained steady
We started collecting data in February 2020 and back then, the market looked promising. Right up to mid-march, only 1% of freelancers said they would be lowering their hourly rates. However, since the WHO declared the Coronavirus as a pandemic on 13.03.202, the percentage of freelancers expecting to lower their prices rose to 5%. From mid-March onwards, the hourly rates went down to €93.82 but then stabilized at the previous year’s level resulting in an average freelancer hourly rate of € 94.28 in the DACH region.
SAP & IT Consulting the better-paid industries
Freelancers continue to earn the most in the SAP sector with an average hourly rate of €111, closely followed by the management and IT consulting industry with €110.
Women are still lagging behind
Men currently charge on average €95.38/hour and have a net monthly income of €6,118 euros; whereas women charge €86.11/hour and have a net monthly income of €4271. Additionally, the portion of women working in the IT field is only 12% according to the study.
A 7-day working week and regular vacation
Freelancers work on average 44 hours per week as of 2020. The majority stated they work between 31 and 50 hours per week. Also, freelancers take 27 days off every year on average in 2020.
Coronavirus made project acquisition even harder
Project acquisition is still the main challenge for 6 out of 10 freelancers. And the pandemic has not made this any easier. 71% of freelancers were unable to land new projects within the last 3 months. 59% of freelancers said that projects were canceled due to the Coronavirus and only 10% said that they didn’t feel any changes in regards to their projects.
Freelance market situation rated as (very) bad
66% of freelancers classify the market situation as bad or very bad in 2020.
A desire for change from the government:
More than half of the surveyed freelancers (56%) asked for the elimination of the pseudo-freelancer, known in German as “Scheinselbstständigkeit”. This happens when the working relationship between a freelancer and a company looks more like full-time employment than a freelance relationship.
Freelancers ask for a simplification in bureaucracy
56% of freelancers wish for simplification in bureaucracy for the self-employed.

Freelancer study 2020 overview:

Freelancer study 2018 – Statistics and Trends

Freelance rates are on the rise
The IT market study shows that freelance rates continue growing. The hourly rate amongst IT freelancers increased 4,23% up to an average hourly rate of €91.05/hr.
Better-paid fields to work in: SAP, Consulting & IT infrastructure

Freelancers are satisfied with their income
Generally, freelancers are satisfied with their income (71.61%), especially SAP freelancers (83.13%).
Project acquisition is the biggest challenge

Freelancers also mentioned that having a fluctuating income was the biggest disadvantage of being a freelancer (47,62%).

Pay gender gap noticeable

Women happy despite pay gap
Regardless of the difference, 62,70% of women said they were satisfied with their income as freelancers.
IT freelance projects run generally up to 12 months

56,59% of all surveyed freelancers said they are generally in a project up to a year.

The market study also showed that within the IT field the most common contracts run between 7 months and a year (24,45%). Generally, these are complex projects that can really benefit from having the IT expert in the team longer than a few weeks.

Better payment than permanent employees

Freelancer study 2018 overview:

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💡 Would like to get the complete studies? You can download all freelancer reports (in German) here: > Freelancer-Kompass

Graphics: © freelancermap GmbH

Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at

By Natalia Campana

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