With a population of over 80 million, Germany provides a European hub of culture, the chance to learn the continent's second most-spoken language and an impressive range of job opportunities for international workers
Thanks to the country's generous holiday allowance and flexible approach to working hours, you'll be able to take full advantage of all that Germany has to offer. Once you've exhausted the tourist landmarks and museums of Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt and explored the castles, lakes and mountain ranges of the lesser-known regions, you're well placed to visit the rest of Europe, starting with any of Germany's nine neighbouring countries.
Jobs in Germany
Home to Europe's largest economy, it's predicted that Germany will experience its ninth consecutive year of economic growth in 2018. This is due in part to a low unemployment rate of 4.2% and a high-quality education system focused on developing vocational skills to equip workers with the assets needed to succeed in their careers.
The country provides a base for a range of multinational companies, including:
- Beck's Brewery
- Deutsche Bank
- Hugo Boss
It's not just the larger companies that contribute to Germany's successes - small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-run businesses play a crucial role in the country's strong and stable economy.
Popular graduate jobs
- Iron and steel production
- Vehicle manufacturing
You can search for jobs in Germany at:
- EURES Job Search
- Toytown Germany
In a 2017 study, economic research company Prognos forecasted a shortage of approximately three million workers in Germany by the year 2030.
The country is currently in urgent need of STEM graduates, particularly scientists and engineers. 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 professionals approach retirement age.
Both STEM and the health industries offer desirable starting salaries, much higher than many other sectors in the country - STEM graduates can earn up to €75,000, while doctors are generally paid €45,000 as a starting salary.
How to get a job in Germany
As an EU/EEA citizen you have the same access to the German job market as German nationals, and the application process is similar to that in the UK. 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.
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, which hire short-term staff typically between April and November.
You can search for seasonal jobs in Germany at:
- One World 365
Alternatively, you could consider volunteering as a way to build your skillset, network with professionals, learn a new language and improve your employability.
The European Commission (EC) funds a scheme called the European Voluntary Service (EVS), which offers young people aged 17 to 30 the chance to volunteer for up to 12 months in a number of countries, including Germany.
Opportunities vary from placements concerned with sport and culture to those focused on social care and the environment. Accommodation, travel, food and insurance are all covered by a European grant, and you'll receive an additional personal allowance each month.
As Germany is a popular base for large international companies, the country has plenty of demand for English teachers as its workforce looks to connect with the international market. The majority of English students in Germany are therefore adults, although you'll find opportunities in summer camps and schools as well as corporate buildings. You may also go self-employed as a private tutor.
To teach English in Germany you'll need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, a Bachelors degree and a fair grasp of German.
Visit i-to-i Teach English in Germany for guidance, or learn about teaching English as a language assistant with the British Council.
If you're ready to start looking for teaching jobs, search the Yellow Pages for vacancies and 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 three to 12 months. Many are paid, and some companies may offer scholarships for unpaid positions. These factors depend on the organisation you're working for - get in touch before you apply to discover the specific terms and conditions.
Find internship opportunities at:
- AIESEC - for students and recent graduates
- IAESTE - for science, engineering and arts students
- The Intern Group
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.
As an EU/EEA citizen 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 EU/EEA passport and proof of your residency (such as a rental contract).
Coming from all other countries, it's likely you'll need to obtain a visa or residence permit to make the move to Germany. Visit the Federal Foreign Office - Entry & Residence to find out more about your exact entry requirements.
This information is still correct following the UK's decision to leave the EU, and will be updated if changes occur.
While the majority of the German workforce has a strong grasp of English and there are plenty of English-speaking opportunities available, being able to speak a good 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.
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 regulated professions, such as doctors and lawyers, will need their qualifications recognised in Germany before they can begin work.
Certain authorities are responsible for the recognition of professional qualifications. For more information, see the Recognition Finder. Applications for recognition cost between €100 and €600.
Applicants in a non-regulated profession should also consider having their professional qualifications recognised, so that companies have a better idea of their skills.
What's it like to work in Germany?
Employees who work a five-day week in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 days' annual leave, however most companies provide their workers with an average of 25 to 30 days per year. Germany also enjoys more public holidays than any other European country - you won't have trouble finding the time to explore the country during your stay.
The minimum wage in Germany is €8.84 in 2018, although for an estimated 80 to 90% of wage earners collective bargaining agreements set pay rates and are enforceable by law.
Your earnings will be subject to a basic tax allowance of €9,000. Once your salary exceeds this, you'll be taxed between 14 and 42%, relative to your salary. This top figure only applies to individuals who earn €250,731 or more over a 12 month period.
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 Young Germany (YG).