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Work in Germany: Finding a job in Germany

14th November 2014, Comments12 comments

Work in Germany: Finding a job in Germany
If you're hunting for a job in Germany, here's a guide on where to look for jobs, plus information on the current job market, job requirements and German work permits.

If you are an expat looking for a job in Germany, it can be difficult to know where to start your job hunting. If you are well qualified with either a degree or a vocational qualification, have work experience and can speak at least some German, then you stand a good chance of finding a job in Germany, especially in certain sectors. Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest in the world, so there are plenty of jobs for skilled workers but casual work is also fairly easy to come by.

Here’s what you need to get started on your search for a job in Germany: information and advice on what jobs are available in Germany and where to look to find them.

Work in Germany

The job market in Germany
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU at just 5.1 percent (Eurostat 2013) and in some parts of southern Germany, such as Bavaria (where you’ll find Munich), the unemployment rate is as low as 2.6 percent. A study by the German Federal Institution for Population Research showed that a third of non-EU migrants in Germany in 2010/111 found work within 12 months. If you are well qualified – with a university degree or a vocational qualification such as an apprenticeship – and have work experience and a basic knowledge of German, then you have a good chance of finding employment in Germany, where such qualities are valued.

Available jobs in Germany
There’s a shortage of skilled workers in many professions in Germany. These include qualified engineers (mechanical, automotive, electrical and building), scientists, mathematicians, IT specialists and both hospital doctors and GPs. Professionals with vocational qualifications are also in demand in certain fields (see here for a list). With an increasingly older population, workers in the geriatric, health and nursing professions are also in short supply. English teaching, casual work and hospitality jobs are also available.

German work environment and management culture
The average working week is just over 38 hours, with a minimum of 18 days holiday a year. The German organisational culture is hierarchical, with strong management. Germans work on carefully planned tasks and make decisions based on hard facts. Meetings are orderly and efficient and follow a strict agenda and schedule. Discussions are held with the aim of reaching compliance and a final decision. Time is a well-defined concept and people are very punctual, and you should be too in any professional environment.

German work visas and residence permits
If you’re from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you don’t need a work permit to work in Germany as long as you have a valid passport or ID card, unless you’re from Croatia, where restrictions are in place until at least June 30, 2015, and potentially until 2020, requiring Croats to get a work permit for their first year of employment.

Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the US can come to Germany without a visa and apply for a residence and work permit from their local Alien’s Authority.

Everyone else will need to get a visa and residence permit in order to work in Germany. Whether or not you are able to get a residence permit in order to work in Germany will depend on your qualifications and the sector you want to work in. It may be hard to get a residence permit for work, but it is not worth being tempted to work in Germany illegally.

For more information on German work permits and immigration, see Work in Germany: A guide to German work permits.

Languages
You’ll need to be able to speak at least some German to get a job (even if you want to teach English), and it’s unlikely that you would get a professional level job without good language skills.

Qualifications and references
There are around 60 regulated professions in Germany, including teachers, doctors and opticians. If yours is one of them, you’ll need to get your qualification recognised by the relevant German authority or professional association before you can work. Check out your occupation on Recognition in Germany and find out how to get it recognised. Contact the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) to get a foreign University degree verified. Countries signed up to the Bologna Process will have their qualifications recognised in Germany.
Jobs in Germany
Finding a job in Germany

Expatica jobs
For expat-focused jobs, check out Expatica jobs. There is a constantly updated selection of great jobs, for both English speakers and speakers of other languages, in a range of different sectors.

EURES
If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you can look for a job in Germany through the EURES (European Employment Services) website. EURES is a job portal network that is maintained by the European Commission and it’s designed to aid free movement within the EEA. As well as looking for work, you can upload your CV and get advice on the legal and administrative issues involved in working in Germany. EURES holds job fairs in spring and autumn.

Public sites
The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA ), the largest provider of labour market services in Germany, has a network of over 700 agencies and offices around the country. Its International Placement Service (ZAV) has information about work opportunities, including casual work. You can also post your profile on their job portal – as well as your qualifications and career highlights, you can say what kind of post you’re looking for within which type of company.
 
You can email them at make-it-in-germany@arbeitsagentur.de or call +49 (0)228 713 1313 for advice. Look here for jobs, or at the Agency’s job exchange for adverts for jobs for skilled workers in shortage occupations.

Job websites
Jobs are often advertised on job and recruitment websites (Jobbörsen).

General:

Specialist:


Recruitment agencies

Look in the German Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten) under Arbeitsvermittlung for agencies. They’ll be reputable if they are members of the Federal Employer’s Association of Personnel Service Providers or Bundesarbeitgeberverband der Personaldienstleister (BAP). Before you sign on, check whether a company which will look for a job on your behalf will charge you a fee for doing so – some may ask for a hefty fee of up to EUR 2,000.

Teaching English

There are lots of opportunities for native English speakers to teach English in Germany: school children, older students in language schools, private tutoring, as well as teaching professional English to staff of international companies. You’ll need to have a degree and experience as well as a TEFL qualification. Look for TEFL jobs here and here.

Newspapers

For highly qualified or academic jobs at national levels, buy copies of the Saturday editions of national newspapers or look online: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Suddeutsche Zeiting (Munich and the south), Die Welt, Handelsblatt (Düsseldorf), Frankfurter Rundshau, BerlinOnline and Berliner Zeitung.

Company websites

Look on company websites for vacancies; some international companies will advertise in both English and German. Vacancies are usually listed under Stellenangebote, Karriere or Vakanzen. Top German companies include Adidas, Aldi, BASF, Bayer, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, E.ON, Lidl, Merck, SAP, Siemens and Volkswagen. But don’t forget the plethora of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that are an important part of the German economy, so check out those in your field.

Embassies and consulates

Look out for vacancies at your home country’s embassy or consulate in Germany. Whatever the job you are sure to need a high standard of spoken and written German.

Networking

For many Germans, networking is something done between friends or close colleagues, so while you can try making contacts (and therefore a job) through professional organisations and conferences don’t bank on it. LinkedIn’s Germany Business and Professional Network has job adverts. Don’t forget Expatica’s own Forums page, or link up with like-minded expats through Meetup groups or form your own. You never know who you might meet and where it might lead.

Make the first move

It’s totally acceptable to approach German companies with speculative applications but make sure that you do your homework thoroughly and ensure your qualifications and experience are exactly what the company is looking for.

Applying for a job in Germany

Once you’ve found a job in Germany to apply for, you will need to prepare your application according to German expectations. In Germany, this often means putting together an application file containing your CV, copies of your educational certificates and employer testimonials and even samples of your work, if appropriate. You’ll also need to write a cover letter to go with your application file. Plus, if you get through to the interview stage, you’ll need to know what to expect in a German job interview, and what to do – and not to do – during the interview.

For information on how to apply for a job in Germany, our guide details how to create a German-style CV and tips for job interviews in Germany.

For more information:

 

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Updated from 2012.

12 comments on this article Add a comment

  • 29th February 2012, 21:05:25 shivaram posted:
    nice article..... given required information for national visa....
    would like to know more about EURES and their role.....
  • 18th September 2012, 00:22:57 melissa posted:
    Your article is by far the most informative and helpful that I have read on the internet so far. I have been searching articles and websites for weeks and just now ran across your website. It has a lot of useful information and gives me a great insight into what I would need to do to move to Germany. Thank you so very much for taking the time to make such a wonderful article!
  • 1st February 2013, 12:06:58 rick posted:
    i noticed that there was no mention about pay for foreigners in Germany, allow me to clarify. if you are new to germany expect to be taken advantage of, these companies will use you and then throw you out like trash. pay for foreigners is really insulting. i have a degree and have been offered anywhere from 7,50 euro per hour up to 9,15 per hour. keep in mind with a tax class of 4 you have to subtract 38 percent for taxes, medical etc. my advice to anyone wanting to move to Germany is Don't ! my last job was security, i made 9,15 an hour, 12 hour night shifts. the Germans working along side me were making 14 and 15 euro an hour. after i heard this i quit. this country is not foreigner friendly when it comes to jobs.
  • 18th May 2013, 12:26:23 Paul posted:
    This is typical description and answers to the questions that were on my mind moving to Germany soon to start my masters and possibly start a life there
  • 19th May 2013, 09:09:04 yeah posted:
    I lived for 7 years in Germany. The best i found was a job for 850 Euros with a chief who was hiring every month someone new in the position of the former worker. Never a german company replied to me. Then i went to another country and inside 1 month i had more than 5 replies.
  • 1st August 2013, 14:39:12 Ashok Degala posted:
    Nice Article given lot of information.
  • 7th February 2014, 11:30:27 Trev posted:
    Unfortunatly the information here isn't 100% correct and some also needs revision. An example the temporary contract (befristete Arbeitsvertrag). These can be extended several times not just once and in the unsecure market today is the norm not the exeption.
  • 19th April 2014, 08:57:56 rasik mohamed posted:
    I am going to finish my course of diploma in mechanical engineering. I need a job and I do not know any reference there to help me if anyone can help me please do it then I can come up in my life
  • 30th April 2014, 17:48:54 Berlyn Bayabos posted:
    [Note from the moderator: You may wish to join our community for local advice: http://community.expatica.com or try our job boards: http://jobs.expatica.com] The informations you have shared are very helpful. 'Though I have a 1 little question and problem. I am a Filipina (Philippine) 25 years old, female seeking for a job I did not finish any vocational or professional course. I am currently working here in Jordan as a Domestic helper, yes a Domestic helper for 4 years now. I can do all the house jobs, Car wash, Gardening and even Caregiving. I can take care of Kids and Elders. I am a fast learner. I can speak English, not so fluent but I am patient and interested in learning. Is there anyways that I can have a DH or a Caregiver job in Germany?
  • 26th May 2014, 15:28:07 Shanja posted:
    Does anyone knows TTA Personal company? They offer me a job as a nurse..ist is a serious company? Any experiences?
  • 7th August 2014, 12:44:40 Pan posted:
    For job vacancies, check also www.onstartupjobs.com . One of the largest network for Startup jobs
  • 12th December 2014, 14:25:38 Martina posted:

    Hey this is really an interesting article and your research seems to be very accurate. You know I live in Germany and had to learn how difficult it can be to find the 'job of your dreams' in this country (in SPITE of the low unemployment rate) ... but I think thanks to your tips and especially thanks to your list of job recruitment websites many others will do significantly easier.

    But to thank you (in the name of others who live her) is not the only reason I write to you. My other reason ist that I recently found an interesting job recruitment website that does'nt appear in your list and which I think falls under Specialist websites. It's a recruitment site that lists especially jobs for so called MINT students. I don't want to hide this site from you and from other MINTs that may be looking for a job at the moment, so here's the link: t5-karriereportal.de.

    I would appreciate if you accepted my link tip and perhaps eben add it to your collection? Perhaps it may help some people ...

    Cheers, Martina

 

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