Using data from the German Socio Economic Panel (SOEP) for the years 1984 to 2007, this paper analyses the amount, the development and the explanations of wage mobility, as well as volatility in West Germany, measured by ranks in the wage distribution. Individual wage mobility decreased between 1984/1987 and 2004/2007, while inequality increased steadily from the mid 1990s onwards. Mobility is highest in the middle section of the distribution. Better qualified persons, younger persons and employees of larger firms have higher chances of moving upwards. Wages are more volatile in the low-wage sector and for individuals moving downwards in the wage distribution.