Working in germany

Germany, a country at the heart of the industrialized and developed Europe, has been an attraction to many foreigners not only for its many glamorous and breath-taking sight seeing destinations but also for its thriving work opportunities. With its attractive high paying remuneration and job protection directives by the state, it makes the country a very attraction hub for international job hunters who eagerly come to Germany with the hope of finding a job.

The negative side today would be that since of late, Germany suffers from a high rate of unemployment, making it a bit difficult for finding a job in favor of the outsiders especially without the fluency of the native tongue.

This shouldn't be of too much of a concern though for finding a job as the Labor market in German varies greatly with large regions. With high levels of employment in West Germany compared to the East.

For any job seeker, it would be advisable to look into all documentations and paper requirement needed to work in Germany before entering the country. Paper work and documenting in regard to immigration laws in Germany could be not only very complex but confusing too, so being prepared IS highly advisable.

When it comes to actually finding a job there are many alternative choices to look from.

  • Sweep through the Classifieds
  • One of the best places to start with would be looking into News papers and Magazines. Job offers are found in bounty in all the daily, weekly and monthly editions. If your hunting for those professional positions at national levels requiring high qualification with academic prerequisite, the Saturday Editions of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Handelsblatt and Frankfurter Rundschau is what you are looking for.

    Some local newspapers such as the Westdeutsche Zeitung, Stuttgarter Zeitung or Berliner Zeitung offers you the possibility to place job wanted advertisements in there classified for a nominal fee too.

  • Jump onto the Magical Information Highway
  • With all the expansion and growth of marketing jobs online, the internet offers a broad range of facilities on finding the job that suites your very style and comfort. Online-Bewerbungen is a trendy internet recruitment site filled with many online features and aids, especially attractive for those first time job seekers and recent graduates. Another popular web staffing site would be Jobsbörsen which additionally allows for the posting of your CV making you a candidate for positions in large companies.

  • Traditional Methods pay off too
  • The EU/EEA nationals have the privilege of employing the use of the 800 plus Job centers or Arbeitsamt(Labor Offices) that is located all over Germany. They come with a prospective addition for the foreign job seeker by having a international department called ZAV ( Zentralstelle für Auslandsvermittlung). You could always run you fingers through the yellow pages ( Gelbe Seiten) to see where your nearest Arbeitsamt is located. There is also many private recruitment agencies located around Germany that could be of assistance, these too can be found in the yellow pages as Arbeitsvermittlung.

  • Other places to look in to
  • Apart from these the EURES network, Career Fairs, Speculative applications and the local Chamber of Commerce in your home country would be great places to look into for potential sources of job classifications.

Job Application

Germany being quite a bureaucratic country in many of its procedures requires more than just your resume and a cover letter. It is a common custom to have the following documents submitted along with your CV.

  • Translated copies of School and University Diplomas (translated are preferred)
  • Leaving certificates (if present)
  • TAFE and professional training proof or certifications
  • Letter of reference from previous employers
  • Passport photo placed in the upper right corner of the CV

This collection of documents is sometimes referred to as the Vollständige Bewerbung (comprehensive application). Sometimes an Aussagefähige Bewerbung whixh would include information of positions held by parents, publications and submission of work portfolio.

It's quite mandatory that the covering letter and Resume/CV is in German unless you're applying for a position that doesn't necessitate need the native language skills. When composing you CV or Resume it's advisable to follow the standards of CV writing styles in Germany.

Although its not customary, most applicants bind the above mentioned documents into a Bewerbungsmappe(application folder), which not only helps in the organization of the documents but gives a much needed good first impression.

In many cases it would be advisable to use the aid of a Professional CV and resume writer for either fully compose your CV in German or at least for optimization reasons. Good examples would be or A cheaper variant would be to download a Sample CV in German for example from a site like and follow there structures system.

The next in the process would be normally the interview, and since most of the time unless a very few exceptions the interview being held in German. So it is advisable to prepare yourself ahead. Germans are very particular about punctuality so being on time or a bit earlier to be on the safe side would be a plus point. Since interviews are a formal meeting, dressing in a conservative manner with a formal approach would be better suited.

Student Jobs

Large numbers of students studying in Germany are on the hunt to finding a job; mostly part time to finance their education. It is possible for foreign students to do some work without a work permit. However the following variants may apply:-

  • Limitation to 90 days of work per year
  • Limitation on the number of working hours for a week
  • Some federal states allows work only during vacations

Typically the pay for student jobs are around €8-15 per hour ranging from working in as taxi drivers, courier work, office work, fast food outlets to street cleaning. Vacancies could be found on newspapers, student unions, universities and websites.

Many of the higher curriculums have a mandatory apprenticeship programs during the summer or winter breaks. These internships are usually collaboration programs between the university and the appropriate companies. For international internships, students can contact international student union AISEC.

You shouldn't forget though after your university graduation, if you are offered a permanent job in the country, you are not permitted to stay on your student visa. As a normal procedure you are required to go back to your home country and return on a residency visa with work permit.

Working in Germany

Germany has a high emphasis on efficiency, with high productivity. This calls for some adaptation from the point of the overseas workers as people don't tend to work long hours, rather shorter work hours with shorter breaks.

The management structures are highly organized in a hierarchical basis where well scheduled meetings on a regular basis make for a more grouped structured decision making.

Germany offers the highest earning packages in the world with most graduates making as much as €30,000 per year. Salaries are usually stated in the employment contact in a gross monthly basis before the deductions for taxes and social securities.

For an outsider is it good not to get mixed with the gross and the net salary, for as much 50% of the gross salary can get deducted from the gross salary before the net salary is calculated.

It is customary to receive 13 monthly payments for the annum, the last been broken between the Christmas and summer, if you are lucky you could receive 14 payments for the year.

To be able to work legally without any problems your need to have 3 essential pre-requisites

  • A Work permit (Arbeitsgenehmigung or Arbeitserlaubnis)
  • A Tax Card( Lohnsteuerkarte) issued by the City/regional Authority
  • A Social Security Number ( Sozialversicherungsnummer) issued by the Pension Insurance Institutions.

It's usually the practice of the employer to be responsible for their registration and provision of the social security number and ID cards for those entering the employment for the first time.

Social Security

Germany has a well developed social security system covering five important areas which are:-

  • Health Insurance
  • Long-term care Insurance
  • Pension Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Work Accident Insurance

The insurance polices are divided into either Compulsory (Under the German Social Security System) or Voluntary insurance. It covers all, from employees to employers, students, trainees and pensioners. Except for the Work accident insurance which is fully paid by the employers, the rest are shared between the employer and employee.

All students need an obligatory medical health insurance which is required prior to registration into any German University or College. So if you were to work or study in Germany, you may want to make sure all documents related to your social security status is in place.

There is also the International Social Insurance Policy for EU country members where there is an arrangement to provide benefits across the borders of their countries. There might be other social agreements or arrangement between other countries too, that are outside the EU. The best would be the check the available options directly from the Federal Ministry for Health and Social Security (

Unemployment Insurance

In Germany, the Unemployment Insurance is compulsory for all workers, where you receive around 60 -70% of your previous salary (varies being higher if you have children) incase you lose your Job. This benefit is valid only if you are unemployed but have worked and received a regular pay for at least 12 months in the last 3 years.

In order to receive the Unemployment Benefits, you need to be registered at the local employment office (the Arbeitsamt). A 6.5-7.5% cut is taken from your monthly salary with a certain ratio paid by your employer. The period of time the benefit received depends on the time of your previous employment and your age benefit and it is paid directly to your bank account.

Pension Insurance

The Rentenversicherung or the German pension system is that pays for the retired. It is obligatory for all employee and even groups of self employed personals to have a Public Pension Insurance. The 19.5% contribution of the gross salary payment is divided equally between the employer and the employee. The benefit could be acquired at the age of 65, although filing an 'Unable to Work' notion can cause you to attain it before reaching 65. A part of the pension is attainable even if you decide to spend the rest of your retirement on foreign soil.

Occupational Accident Insurance

The accident insurance undertakes and covers for all accidents while at work and this is fully paid by the employer. Not considering how much you earn, it will have total coverage for you, if you are employed or are an apprentice. Even the self employed can reap this benefit by obtaining a voluntary occupational Accident benefit.

The providence of the Accident benefit, in the case of occupational accidents or illnesses are as follows:-

  • Medical treatment is fully covered
  • Occupational assistance or retraining or rehabilitation
  • Social Integration and supplementary aid
  • Cash benefits for dependents.