How to get a job in Germany

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If you are looking for jobs in Germany, here is a guide on how to get a job in Germany, as well as information on the current job market, work 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 search, especially if you are limited to English-speaking jobs. However, if you are well qualified with a degree or professional qualification, have work experience and can speak at least some German, you have a good chance of finding a job in Germany, especially in some sectors with a shortage of German workers.

Work in Germany

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 specialized skills, although informal work is also easy to find. It is also possible to find English speaking jobs in Germany, although in most cases a small amount of German will be required.

The job market in Germany

Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union, at 3.9% in May 2020. This is well below the EU and Eurozone averages of 6.7% and 7.4%, respectively. In some parts of southern Germany, such as Bavaria (where you’ll find Munich), the unemployment rate is lower as well.

A study by the German Federal Institute for Population Research showed that a third of non-EU migrants in Germany in 2010/11 had found work within 12 months, although this situation has changed dramatically following the influx of refugees into Germany since 2015 and with the pandemic crisis. 2020. However, if you are well qualified and have a basic knowledge of German, there are much higher chances of finding a job in Germany, where these qualities are valued.

Germany is home to many large international companies and is particularly strong in the automotive sector. Some of the largest companies in Germany include:

Volkswagen (cars)
Daimler (cars)
Allianz (finance)
BMW (automobile)
Siemens (electronics)
Bosch (electronics)
Deutsche Telekom (Telecom)
However, small businesses and startups are also popular. About 90% of companies in Germany are SMEs and make up about two-thirds of jobs.

Vacancies in Germany
With low levels of unemployment, Germany is not affected by skill shortages like some other parts of Europe and there is no skill shortage nationwide. However, there is a shortage of skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and health professions, especially in southern and eastern Germany.

According to July 2020 statistics, there are currently just over 573,000 vacancies in Germany. This number has decreased from about 800,000 a year ago. Vacancies include skilled occupations as well as casual work in areas such as English language teaching and hospitality.

Jobs salaries in Germany

The minimum wage in Germany is set every year. As of January 2020, it has a price of €9.35 per hour, which currently places it in fifth place among the European Union.

The average monthly income in Germany is 4,021 euros; However, this varies across sectors, regions, and gender. The gender pay gap is 21% as of 2018.

Read more in our guide to average salaries in Germany.

Work culture in Germany

German business culture is traditionally hierarchical, with strong management. Germans work on carefully planned missions and make decisions based on established facts. Meetings are orderly and efficient and follow a strict agenda and schedule, with discussions aiming to reach compliance and final decision.

Time is a well-defined concept when it comes to working in Germany. For this reason, people are very meticulous, and you should also be in any professional environment.

Labor laws and labor rights in Germany

The average working week in Germany is about 40 hours per week, although the maximum work week is 48 hours. An employee can work up to 10 hours per day if the average working hours per day do not exceed eight hours over a 24 week period.

The minimum entitlement to annual statutory leave in Germany is 20 days per year. German workers also receive other benefits such as sickness and maternity payments. Most work, both full-time and part-time, will be organized under an employment contract. However, you should carefully check the finer details of any contract before signing as some employers try to include clauses that are very much in their favour.

Notice periods for an employer ending their contract in Germany typically start with two weeks during the probationary period, and increase to four weeks for most standard contracts. For long-term workers, notice periods can be much longer (eg, up to seven months in some cases for those with more than 20 years of service).

How to find jobs in Germany

Expatica jobs

For jobs focused on expats and English speakers in Germany, check out Expatica Jobs. There is a constantly updated selection of jobs for both English and other language speakers, in a range of different sectors. For details click here


If you are from the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can search for a job in Germany through the EURES (European Employment Services) website. EURES is a job portal network that is part of the European Commission and aims to help free movement within the European Economic Area. In addition to looking for work, you can upload your CV and get advice on the legal and administrative issues involved in working in Germany. EURES holds career fairs in the spring and fall.

General German job sites

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA), Germany’s largest provider of labor market services, has a network of more than 700 agencies and offices across the country. Its International Employment Service (ZAV) contains information about employment opportunities, including casual work. You can also publish your profile on their job portal – in addition to your qualifications and job highlights, you can select the type of post you are looking for in any type of company.

Find their job listings here or check out the agency’s page for skilled workers in occupational shortage jobs.

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