Germany is a popular country among expats - they make up roughly 13% of the population. Hardly surprising when you consider the attractive career opportunities available in the country
Even once you've exhausted the tourist landmarks and museums of Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, there's still plenty to see and do while living in Germany. For example, you could visit the remarkable old towns of Nuremburg, Freiburg and Passau, or check out spectacular castles such as Hohenzollern Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle. To get away from it all, the lakes and mountain ranges of Bavaria, close to the Austrian border, provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy Germany's outstanding natural beauty.
From its prime Western European location, you're well placed to visit the rest of the continent, starting with any of Germany's nine neighbouring countries.
Jobs in Germany
Germany has by far the largest economy in Europe and a thriving jobs market to match. It currently has the second lowest unemployment rate at 2.8% which is far below the EU average of 6.1%.
As well as spending €130billion on a stimulus programme due to COVID-19, this relatively low unemployment rate can be attributed to the German government's 'Kurzarbeit' (short-time work) initiative. At this time companies have been able to reduce staff hours and wages, with these subsidised by the state, which has helped to protect jobs.
With a strong focus on exports and heavy investment in research and development (R&D), Germany is reliant on its four main manufacturing sectors: automotive, mechanical engineering, chemical and electrical.
The country provides a base for a range of multinational companies, including:
- BMW Group
- Deutsche Bank
- Deutsche Post
- Hugo Boss
However, it's not just the larger companies that contribute to Germany's success story - many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-run businesses play a crucial role in the country's economy.
Popular graduate jobs
- Iron and steel production
- Vehicle manufacturing
You can search for jobs in Germany at:
- Federal Employment Agency - Job Board
- The Local - Germany
- Make it in Germany
- TotalJobs - Jobs in Germany
An article on the 'Securing of skilled labour' by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has highlighted four key factors that are contributing to a future skills shortage.
Firstly, Germany has an ageing workforce, and it's anticipated that there will be a third fewer people of working age (20-64) by 2060, accounting for a shortfall of up to 16 million workers if the country was to block immigration.
With 352 out of 801 occupations currently facing skills shortages in Germany, there's a need for vocational training in a range of sectors.
The country is currently in urgent need of STEM graduates, particularly scientists and engineers (automotive, electrical and mechanical). More IT specialists and mathematicians are needed in banks, insurance firms and other large companies to help with software and security.
The healthcare sector is also suffering a shortage of workers as many current medical and care professionals approach retirement age. The long list includes:
- Elderly care
- Specialists in internal medicine.
Both STEM and the health industries offer desirable starting salaries - for instance, STEM graduates can earn €38,000-€42,000 (£32,000-£35,500), rising to €48,000-€52,000 (£40,500-£44,000) after six to eleven years.
How to get a job in Germany
For EU citizens and those from the European Economic Area (EEA), you have the same access to the German job market as German nationals.
The job application process is similar to that in the UK, as you'll typically need to submit a well presented CV and cover letter directly to the employer, and may be invited to one or two interviews if your application is successful.
Depending on the role you're applying for, you may be required to sit psychological and aptitude tests, and for business and management roles you may also be invited to an assessment centre.
You'll need to include copies of your education certificates with your application - this includes any vocational qualifications you've completed, as well as your school leaving transcripts and university degree. If you need to get your qualifications recognised, visit Recognition in Germany.
The federal government's Make it in Germany site has a quick-check facility you can use to indicate your chances of landing a job in the country.
You can also follow the step-by-step guide to working in Germany at deutschland.de.
Being a European holiday hotspot, Germany's tourism industry has vacancies in a range of jobs all year round. In the summer, you won't be hard pushed to find opportunities in bars, restaurants and theme parks as they usually look to hire short-term staff between April and November.
You can search for seasonal jobs in Germany at:
- One World 365 - Jobs in Germany
- TotalJobs - Seasonal jobs in Germany
- Work in Germany - Seasonal jobs
Alternatively, you could consider volunteering as a way to build your skillset, network with professionals, learn a new language and improve your employability.
As Germany is a popular base for large international companies, the country has a strong demand for English teachers. The majority of English students in Germany are adults, although you'll also find opportunities in summer camps and schools along with the possibility of being self-employed as a private tutor.
To teach English in Germany, you'll need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, which you can achieve through The TEFL.org. You'll also need a Bachelors degree and a reasonable grasp of German.
You can visit i-to-i - Teach English in Germany for further guidance, or learn about teaching abroad as an English language assistant with the British Council.
If you're ready to start looking for teaching jobs, search the Yellow Pages for vacancies and contact organisations directly.
An internship in Germany is a great way to give your career a boost, by learning how Europe's largest economy operates. You'll be able to enjoy the German lifestyle while developing your skills.
Internships in Germany typically last from three to 12 months. Many are paid, and some companies offer scholarships for unpaid positions. These factors depend on the organisation you're working for - so get in touch before you apply to discover the specific terms and conditions.
You can find internship opportunities at:
- AIESEC - for students and recent graduates.
- GoAbroad.com - Internships abroad in Germany
- GoOverseas - Internships in Germany
- IAESTE - for science, engineering and arts students.
Your university may also be able to help you secure an internship, and German companies will appreciate the direct approach - send speculative applications, or use social media to start networking.
For EU/EEA citizens, you won't need a visa or permit to work and live in Germany. However, you'll need to register your residence at your local registration office within three months of your arrival - to do this you'll need a valid passport and proof of your residency (such as a rental contract).
Coming from all other countries, including the UK, it's likely you'll need to obtain a visa or residence permit to make the move to Germany. Visit the Federal Foreign Office - Visa information to find out more about your exact entry requirements. Those from the UK can get more information from the German Embassy in London.
If you studied in Germany you may apply for a residence permit which gives you 18 months to find a job after graduation.
Read about getting a German EU Blue Card, the main residence permit for university graduates from abroad, at VisaGuide.World.
While the majority of the German workforce has a strong grasp of English, being able to speak a decent level of German is essential for securing a job and living comfortably in Germany.
This is not enforceable by law and there's no compulsory proficiency test to take. While you'll need fluency in German to hold some positions, such as within the healthcare sector, for others your employer will decide whether your proficiency is sufficient for the role.
It's best to start learning from home before you move. There are plenty of language courses available in the UK, and websites such as BBC Languages - German will help you improve.
A comprehensive beginner's guide to learning German that covers German grammar, idioms and daily expressions is available at Studying in Germany - Learn German.
Once you arrive in the country, there are plenty of other opportunities to get your standard of German up to speed. For more information, see German Visa - Integration Courses.
How to explain your qualifications to employers
UK qualifications are almost always comparable to their German counterparts, and will therefore be recognised by employers. However, professionals of one of Germany's 60-plus regulated professions, such as doctors and lawyers, will need their qualifications recognised in Germany before they can begin work.
For the recognition of professional qualifications you can use the finder facility at Recognition in Germany. Applications for recognition can cost up to €600 (£508).
Applicants in a non-regulated profession should also consider having their professional qualifications recognised, so that companies will have a better idea of their skills.
What's it like to work in Germany?
According to the Federal Holiday Act, employees who work a five-day week in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 days' annual leave, or 24 days for a six-day week. However, in practice most companies provide their workers with around 27 to 30 days per year. Germany also enjoys more public holidays than any other European country, so you won't have trouble finding the time to explore the country during your stay.
The national minimum wage in Germany in 2022 is €12 (£10.15) per hour. Your annual earnings will be subject to a basic tax allowance of €9,984 (£8,446). Once your salary exceeds this, you'll be taxed between 14% and 42%, relative to your salary. At the top end of the scale this would be up to €58,597 (£49,571). There is an even higher tax bracket, but you'd need to be earning over €277,826 (£235,031) to pay 45% of your income.
If you're employed in Germany, you're most likely to be subject to withholding tax, where your income tax is calculated and deducted from your monthly pay.
The workplace environment is formal and professional, with a strict hierarchy in place and a strong emphasis on rank and responsibility.
Find out more
- Discover what it's like to study in Germany.
- For a career, education and lifestyle guide, see deutschland.de.
On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like
Something went wrong. Please try again.
Thank you for rating the page
Is English enough to work in Germany? ›
Language requirements to work in Germany
While you may find English-speaking jobs in Germany, you'll need to be able to speak at least some German to get most jobs (even those teaching English). If you speak no German, it's likely that you'll be restricted to casual and informal work which is typically lower-paid.
UK qualifications are almost always comparable to their German counterparts, and will therefore be recognised by employers. However, professionals of one of Germany's 60-plus regulated professions, such as doctors and lawyers, will need their qualifications recognised in Germany before they can begin work.Can I work in Germany if I only speak English? ›
In short: yes, there are English-speaking jobs in Germany.
Foreigners who look for jobs in tech startups or digital departments have a higher chance of finding work in Germany without speaking German.
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. The country has a very attractive job market for qualified workers as their highly competitive companies are always in need of well-trained employees. After officially completing your degree, you will have 18 months to find a job.Which is the most English speaking city in Germany? ›
Knowing a few phrases in German will make living in Germany a bit easier. In Hamburg, you can expect people to speak a basic level of English and you'll make it through your day to day life without speaking German.Can you survive in Germany with English? ›
There's no doubt that you can survive in Germany without knowing German. Every German usually studies English from the age of 5 and especially the younger generation watches British or American series.Is UK degree valid in Germany? ›
Degrees awarded by recognized British universities can still be recognized in Germany. Their formal status is that of a third-country academic degree.Is UK degree valid in Europe? ›
UK degrees are recognised in many countries around the world, and there are a number of agreements between different countries that support this. Some of these are not related to the European Union which means that after the UK leaves the EU, most academic qualifications will still be recognised.Which job is easy in Germany? ›
Top job openings in Germany:
- Software developers, architects, programmers.
- Electronics engineers.
- IT consultants, IT analysts.
- Business managers.
- Account managers.
- Production assistants.
- Sales managers, representatives.
Learning German is one of the most important steps you can take to prepare yourself for your life in Germany. This will help you settle in more quickly and facilitate making new friends. For certain purposes, such as work or studying, it may even be necessary for you to provide evidence of certain German skills.
Can I survive in Germany without German? ›
Can you live in Germany without knowing German? It is just about possible to live in Germany without knowing much German. But in order to find employment and to fully integrate into society, you will need to be able to speak and read German to a good standard, especially if you live outside the major cities.What level of German language is required to work in Germany? ›
If you´d like to work in Germany you´ll get by if your German is on level B1/B2 (online test). The certificate issued by GLS is recognized by many employers and even some universities in Germany. More about the GLS German language certificate.How much is good salary in Germany? ›
According to the StepStone Salary Report 2021 (Stepstone Gehaltsreport 2021), the average gross salary in Germany amounts to €56,985. But most Germans consider a salary ranging between €64,253 and €81,503 a good salary.How much is salary in Germany? ›
According to Statista, in 2021, the average gross annual salary in Germany was 47.700 euros a year, or 3.975 euros a month. The numbers above are for all of Germany. However, the average gross salary will depend greatly on your location, professional experience, education, size of the company, and gender.Is working in Germany Good? ›
Compared to living costs in other highly developed countries Germany is often cheaper in aspects of housing, transportation, and food. In big cities as Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne living is more expensive than in rural areas.Is living in Germany better than UK? ›
Work-life balance in Germany is vastly superior to the UK. Germans value their leisure time and tend to compartmentalise work time and free time.What is the safest city in Germany? ›
Munich. Munich is probably the safest city to live in Germany. A survey conducted in 2020 found that the crime rate in Munich is pretty low compared to Berlin because out of 100,000, only 6,469 people experienced any criminal activity.What is the cheapest city to live in Germany? ›
- #1 Bielefeld City Germany.
- #2 Frankfurt (Oder) City Germany.
- #3 Halle City Germany.
- #5 Passau City Germany.
- You'll have to tackle a lot of bureaucracy. ...
- Lack of digitalisation and modernisation. ...
- High tax and insurance contributions. ...
- Germans can seem unfriendly. ...
- The language barrier can be a struggle. ...
- It can be hard to find a place to live. ...
- Not everyone is a fan of the weather. ...
- Things have to be done a certain way.
The third level in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages is level B1. It is definitely a step beyond the A1 and A2 exams. Passing a level B1 exam means that you are entering the intermediate level of your journey through the German language.
Is moving to Germany a good idea? ›
All in all, Germany is a country where you can find both the fast city life or the quiet sub-urban experience, all from a position of safety, security and stability. In short, the country's safety, highly developed infrastructure and robust economy allow Germany to offer you a very stable reason to move to the country.Is it easy to get a job in Germany as a foreigner? ›
You can live and work in Germany even if you are not an EU citizen, provided that you meet the set eligibility criteria. To be allowed to live and work there legally, you must have a German work and residence permit.Do I need German language to work in Germany? ›
Learn German for jobs in Germany: If you want to work and live in Germany as a non-EU citizen, you need to have a good knowledge of the German language. For most jobs in Germany, good German language skills are not only a prerequisite by the employing companies but also a condition in get a visa for Germany.Is English important in Germany? ›
English was introduced as a school subject in many German schools and thus began to play a central role in modern foreign language teaching rivalling that of French. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, English continuously gained ground as an important academic language.Can I move to Germany without speaking German? ›
Can you live in Germany without knowing German? It is just about possible to live in Germany without knowing much German. But in order to find employment and to fully integrate into society, you will need to be able to speak and read German to a good standard, especially if you live outside the major cities.What is a good salary in Germany? ›
According to the StepStone Salary Report 2021 (Stepstone Gehaltsreport 2021), the average gross salary in Germany amounts to €56,985. But most Germans consider a salary ranging between €64,253 and €81,503 a good salary.Which European country gives work visa easily? ›
Estonia is one of the easiest European countries to get a work visa for digital nomads. It offers an excellent visa program allowing you to stay in Estonia for a year as a tourist while working remotely.What level of German language is required to work in Germany? ›
Generally, German language skills at level A1 of the CEFR are required here. However, there are numerous exceptions, which you can read up on in this section.Is B1 German fluent? ›
The B Levels: Conversational
B1 German speakers have no problem understanding the main points of a conversation when clear standard German is used, especially when the topic is something familiar like school or work.
In Germany, can I get by with English? - YouTube
What is B1 level German? ›
The Goethe-Zertifikat B1 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates are independent users of the German language and corresponds to the third level (B1) on the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).What are the top 3 languages spoken in Germany? ›
|Rank||Language||Speakers (% of Population)|
With plenty of straightforward rules, German is not actually as hard to learn as most people think. And since English and German stem from the same language family, you might actually be surprised at the things you pick up without even trying! And on top of it all, it's definitely a useful one, too.Is Germany worth living? ›
Overall, Germany is a great place to live. It has a high standard of living, a strong economy, and plenty of culture and entertainment options for a good work-life balance. The cost of living can be high in the major cities, but there are also many benefits to living in Germany.How do I survive in Germany? ›
- Renting a place and registering. ...
- Opening a bank account and getting some cash. ...
- Buying a travel ticket. ...
- Buying a bike. ...
- Getting health insurance. ...
- Finding furniture. ...
- Getting connected. ...
- Stocking up before Sunday.
- The German people are easy to warm up to.
- Germany offers structure and stability.
- Germany provides a high standard of living.
- Germany is great for English speakers.
- Expats have great opportunities on the German job market.
- Germany is hungry for international students and interns.