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 a foreigner looking for jobs in Germany, it can be difficult to know where to start your job hunting, especially if you are restricted to English-speaking jobs in Germany. However, if you are well qualified with a degree or vocational qualification, have work experience and can speak at least some German, you stand a good chance of finding a job in Germany, especially in certain sectors with German worker shortages.
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest in the world, so there are plenty of jobs in Germany for foreigners with specialist skills, although casual work is also fairly easy to come by. It is also possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany, although in most cases even a small amount of German will be required.
This guide explains everything you need to work in Germany, including information on what jobs in Germany are available, shortage German jobs, German job websites and other places where you can find jobs in Germany for foreigners.
The job market in Germany
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, reaching a record low of 5.8 percent in March 2017, while in some parts of southern Germany, such as Bavaria (where you’ll find Munich), the unemployment rate is significantly lower. 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, although this situation has significantly changed following Germany’s refugee influx since 2015. However, 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, there are much higher chances of finding a job in Germany, where such qualities are valued.
German work environment and management culture
The average working week is just over 38 hours, with a minimum of 18 days holiday a year. German business culture is traditionally 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, where discussions are held with the aim of reaching compliance and a final decision. Time is a well-defined concept in German business culture and people are very punctual, and you should be too in any professional environment. The national German minimum wage was increased to EUR 8.84 per hour in 2017, and salaries in Germany are expected to be reviewed every
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 permit to work in Germany as long as you have a valid passport or ID card, although registering your address is required. Read more in our guide for EU/EEA/Swiss moving to Germany.
Citizens from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the US can also come to Germany without a visa, however, must apply for a German residence and work permit from their local Alien’s Authority.
Everyone else will need to get a German visa and residence permit in order to work in Germany. Whether or not you are able to get a residence permit will depend on your qualifications and the sector you want to work in. It may be hard to get a residence permit to work in Germany, but it is not worth being tempted to work in Germany illegally.
Languages 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 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. There are many language schools in Germany if you need to brush up on your German.