As an expat coming to Germany, we know that it can be very challenging to find a job in the country. In addition, the whole process behind working in Germany (applying for different positions, getting rejected several times, etc.) can become quite stressful. That is why we would like to offer you all the tools that you need to find a job in Germany and help you succeed in your search. Don’t lose faith – it’s not as hard as it seems.
What are the requirements to work in Germany as an expat?
The requirements to work in Germany as a foreigner will vary depending on your nationality, usually whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen.
If you come from an EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you do not need a visa nor a work permit to be employed in Germany: all that you need is a valid ID or passport to register in the country upon your arrival.
On the other hand, residents from the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, Canada, South Korea or New Zealand will have to apply for a residence permit in order to enter Germany, but they do not require a work permit to be eligible to work in the country.
However, if you are a citizen from any other country, you will have to apply for a work visa before entering Germany. In this case, you should already have a job offer or contract to be granted the visa.
Can I find a job in Germany without speaking German?
Yes, it is possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany. According to the German Federal Employment Agency, foreign workers made up 12% of Germany’s workforce in 2018. Although having a basic knowledge of German would be ideal and accelerate the recruiting process, working in Germany is possible for expats since there are many job opportunities in different sectors across the country.
How can I find a job in Germany as an expat?
In the era of digitalization that we are living in, the best way to find a job in Germany is to make use of online platforms. Some of the most common job sites in Germany are Stepstone, Indeed and LinkedIn. If you do not speak German, here’s a list of the top English-speaking job websites that will help you in your search:
As a tip of advice, you should make sure that you have a solid LinkedIn profile. More and more companies advertise their job offers on LinkedIn, where you may apply for them directly. In order to make the job hunt easier, you can filter out the offers by using the word “English” in your search.
Besides these platforms, the Federal Government of Germany published an up-to-date list with figures of the current available job occupations across the country depending on the sector that you might also find useful. Although most of the job titles are written in German, some of the job descriptions are in English and several positions only require English fluency, so it is worth checking it out.
Which jobs are in demand in Germany?
According to recent statistics, the most highly demanded jobs in Germany are related to the engineering, software development and digital communications fields. In addition, there is a high demand for IT specialists, physicians, nurses, scientists, analysts and sales managers, among others. However, if your qualifications do not match any of these positions, do not worry, there are plenty of job opportunities in Germany. In fact, Germany has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in Europe (3.1%), so there are big chances that you will find a good job.
What is the minimum wage in Germany?
Although German salaries are among the highest in the world already, the minimum wage in Germany was raised twice in 2022. On January 1st, it was raised to 9,82 euros per hour (making it a total of 1,571 € for a full-time position of 40 hours per week). From July 1st, this amount will go up again to 10,45 euros per hour (1,672 €).
What’s more, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is planning to increase it again to 12 euros per hour in October.
If you wish to know more about what your average salary in Germany would look like given your qualifications, check out the salary tool offered by StepStone here.
What is a normal working day in Germany?
Just in like most countries, working in Germany offers the possibility to work in full-time or part-time positions. In general, the typical working week for full-time positions is between 36 and 40 hours. On average, people work seven or eight hours per day, five days per week. If you decide to have more than one job, the German Labor and Employment law stipulates that working hours cannot exceed 48 in one week.
Concerning holidays and vacation time, workers are entitled at least 24 days of annual leave per year. However, most companies offer their employees a period of 30 days of paid vacation leave.
Do I need to be insured to work in Germany?
Yes, health insurance is mandatory for everyone who wishes to work in Germany, without any exceptions. If you’re thinking about working as an expat, we understand that this process can seem complicated, but there are many resources where you can find assistance. If you need any more information regarding health insurance or the type of insurance that you need, do not hesitate to contact our partners from MW Expat, they will advise you on what is the best option for you depending on your personal situation and find the best solution.
We hope that you found this guide about working in Germany useful for your job search. We wish you all the good luck in the world!