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Working in Germany

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Does your pursuit of your dream job have you moving to Germany? Or is Germany the dream, and you just need a hustle to pay the bills? In either case, you will want to know a thing or two about working in Germany before you pack your bags. Read on to learn about what working in Germany is like, how to get a job in Germany as an American, German work culture and more!

Working in Germany

With all the benefits the German economy has to offer, working in Germany will be a career boost with the perks of work/life balance. Not convinced yet? Maybe you might be swayed by the average salary in Germany (€ 42,500 per year). While that might not seem like much for your typical Wall Street high-roller, it is quite high for European economies (and actually a €5,000 increase since 2000 🤑).

Jobs in Germany for Americans

Is it difficult to get a job in Germany as an American? It depends… do you speak any German? Non-German speakers will have a much more difficult time finding a job in Germany. And even if you do speak German, it might not be a picnic either!

Why is this? In either case, you will need to secure a work permit (read more about German work permits here). Because you need to find a company to sponsor your work permit, the more jobs you are qualified for the better. It is all a numbers game…

So are there really jobs in Germany for Americans? Yes! The easiest way to work in Germany is to receive a transfer from within a multi-national company. The next best thing is to have highly desirable skills, like software development.

If all else fails, set your sights on Berlin. Besides being the capital with the most opportunities, it is also the most expat-friendly city in Germany!

SireloTip! Spruce up that resume (or CV, in Germany)! Adopting German CV standards will go a long way. These include an average length of two pages, a photo, and address details.

german flags flying outside glass high rise building

Major German Industries

As you go hunting for jobs in Germany, where will you have the most opportunity? Many of you can guess already, but the German economy is dominated by engineering. Being home to top auto companies, Germans certainly understand moving parts!

What is more, Frankfurt is the financial capital of continental Europe, and can be expected to compete more strongly against London in the post-Brexit years.

Head spinning yet? Take a look at the top industries in the German economy below:

  • Automotive
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Banking/Finance
  • Telecommunications
  • Technology
  • Insurance
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sustainability

Say you want to work in Germany, but you want to work for yourself. Is Germany friendly to small business? Yes! Germany has 3.6 million SME’s, which is a lot considering a total population of 80 million.

Work Culture in Germany

A stereotype floats around that Germans are somewhat serious and rule oriented. Of the parts of this that are true, on the work floor this translates to a value placed on high-quality performance and a strong Protestant work ethic.

What other idiosyncrasies can you expect from the German work culture? Germans tend to be extremely punctual (deals can be broken over tardiness, so watch out!) and direct (they don’t mince words!).

On the flip side, you can always rely on your colleagues, and because Germans are slow to praise, good feedback is always authentic. In addition, Germans have one of best work/life balances in the world.

With the strong employee rights and an average work week of 34.2 hours, Germans work hard to accomplish more in less time. Deal!

german skyline with many skyscrapers overlooking a bridge and river

Moving to Germany?

Planning a move to Germany? Then we can imagine that you will have plenty to arrange before packing up. Why not check out our full expat relocation guide for everything you need to know before moving to Das Land der Dichter und Denker? Or, check out the helpful articles linked below for further reading. Good luck!