The Federal Republic of Germany is one of the European Union's biggest economic powers. Plenty of people from the EU, including Brits, have decided to live and work or study in Germany since they don't need visas, a work permit or residence permit.
Its economy and the jobs market for areas such as tourism, research, metallurgy, and the automotive industry are booming. Germany has recovered well following the economic crisis.
Why work or live in Germany?
Why are more and more people going to work in Germany?
What are the differences between Germany and the UK?
There are so many questions you need to ask yourself before you go. Hopefully this article will help you make the right decision for your career.
Reasons to Work in Germany
The Difference in Salary
Life in Germany isn't like life in the UK although the salaries are quite similar. Why are so many people moving to Germany?
Firstly, there are plenty of jobs certain sectors, like the chemistry, automotive, and IT sectors in comparison to the same sectors in the UK.
Additionally, the average salary is higher in Germany at €2,270 as opposed to the UK’s €1,912.
The jobs market in Germany is more dynamic. Unemployment is low in Germany and getting a job is much easier.
The unemployment rate, at 3.8%, is one of the lowest in the European economic area making Germany one of the best EU countries for working abroad.
Do You Need to Speak German to Work in Germany?
Is it possible to get a job without speaking German? This is a question a lot of Brits ask about living in Germany.
More often than not, working in Germany without speaking German is only possible by working for an international company.
For students looking for work, you should check the international office in the universities in Germany as they can help every international student.
German lessons London or online or at home are a great way to discover the German language and its history. Studying in Germany or at German universities is a great way to get the qualifications you need to prove your language skills.
In fact, if you really want to give your career in Germany a boost, you should speak German. Immersion by living in Germany is a great way to learn the language and the longer you stay, the better your German will be.
Have German Classes
Before they leave their home country, every foreigner in Germany should know at least a little bit of German. Whether you've got a place at a university or you've got a job offer, you should at least get to grips with some of the basics.
Why not take language course in Berlin, for example?
There are plenty of reasons to do so depending on your personal and professional goals: greater autonomy to find a job, going to interviews, and living in a German town away from home.
Learning German as part of your professional experience and discovering the history and culture of Germany will make your experience in the country absolutely unforgettable.
By taking German lessons, practising regularly, studying the grammar, and listening to podcasts in German, you’ll quickly improve your speaking skills and be able to communicate better with the locals which is something you’re probably going to have to do at your new job!
You can take German classes even if you’re already working: thanks to night classes, university classes for adults, or even private tutorials at home, you can work on your weaknesses and find the type of language classes that work best for you.
You can also do an internship in Germany, especially in some of the best student towns like Bonn, Fribourg-en-Brisgau, Tübingen (without forgetting Berlin, Munich, Hamburg), where you can learn German online while working at the same time. Tuition fees in Germany are also much less than what you'd pay for a university in the UK and the education system is top quality.
If you’re still a student, you should consider participating in the Erasmus programme or another exchange programme in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. If this sounds like it's for you, you should check out the best German university towns.
Don’t forget that having being able to speak and write in German on your CV is a real bonus when it comes to working in Germany. German recruiters are always going to be very interested in candidates that they can speak to clearly in their own language.
It also shows them that you’re interested in integrating into their business culture, German life and culture, as well as showing off your skills.
To these ends, we can’t recommend enough taking an exam that validates your German in terms of a CEFR level.
The exams provided by the Goethe Institut are particularly good for this. The Goethe institute offers education in Germany, the UK, and around the world.
Their Goethe-Test PRO – Deutsch für den Beruf (previously the BULATS German exam) is highly recommended if you’re interested in professional German and it also gives you an exact score (valid for two years).
Don’t forget that it doesn’t hurt to know another foreign language like Dutch, Polish, or Swedish: trilinguals are also in demand.
Why Are So Many People Interested in Working in Germany?
While the fact that the salaries in Germany are higher is already a very convincing reason to start working there, there are also non-financial benefits that attract people to Germany.
What else is there?
Here are a few reasons as to why you should take German courses and move to Germany:
If you’re an executive looking for a challenge, in Germany you tend to be given more responsibilities at work than you would be in the UK. Of course, these responsibilities mean you have more things to manage but they can also make your job far more enriching.
It can be financially beneficial without being a permanent move.
It’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and discover a new culture as well as improving your ability to deal with change. These skills are highly sought after by employers and can give you a new outlook on your career.
You can make yourself more competitive in your field or in a field that you’d like to work in.
It’s an opportunity to learn different management styles and learn about different work environments: the customs in an office aren’t always the same and neither are the relationships between staff members. You might discover that the Germans are more hard-working than us.
British Workers in Germany
What about Expats? Expatriates (or expats) are Brits who no longer live or work in the UK. They tend to, more often than not, live in Berlin or another large German city. They have the opportunity to eat, drink, and breathe German culture.
German Recruitment Agencies
To make finding a job easier in Germany, there are some really useful German recruitment agencies that can vastly increase your chances of ending up an employee at a German company.
These intermediaries work with various large and small German companies to find the best employees for them in the long term.
This means that these companies have outsourced their recruitment process and to alleviate the pressure on their own internal HR departments.
While plenty of businesses publish job adverts on their websites, job sites, and even in the paper, some only make these jobs (usually the important ones) available to those going through these recruitment agencies.
This means that there are usually a few hoops to jump through in order to guarantee that the candidate is the best person for the job.
Why do businesses go through these recruitment agencies?
The business is usually struggling to find the right candidate.
The business needs to recruit a large number of candidates in a short period of time and doesn’t have the internal resources to do so.
The business doesn’t want to, for one reason or another, recruit candidates itself.
Whatever the reason, it’s great for you when it comes to looking for jobs in Germany. Recruitment agencies in Germany are hugely popular amongst both businesses and candidates looking for work.
If you stand out from the crowd or are a specialist in a certain field, you should go straight to these recruitment agencies.
Don’t forget that speaking English is also a huge benefit when it comes to a great number of jobs: Germany works a lot in English and has a lot of things they want to sell to English-speaking customers, make the most of that fact!
Get in touch with a recruitment agency today and tell them which fields you specialise in and anything that can set you apart from other candidates.
You should also look for other specialists in your field. They’re your competition, after all. This can help you measure up against other candidates and see how likely you are to get a job in Germany in your field.
You’ll find out, one way or another, whether its something worth pursuing.
Get an Interview
Even as a Brit, it’s not as hard to get an interview through German recruitment agencies as you may think. They can even help you get interviews with massive international companies!
If a recruitment agency doesn’t have anything to offer you, they’ll get in touch with you to find out more about you and put you in their database in order to find work for you down the line. In fact, the agency could receive a job for you the very next day...
This could work out even better for you. Once the agency is told about the vacancy, they’ll already have even more information about you and more reason to get in touch.
This is why you need to put together a good professional profile with your experience, specialities, and show them that you can at least speak a bit of German.
Whether you get the job or not, signing up with a recruitment agency is great as it shows that you want to get to work and integrate yourself into the German working culture and also prepares you for any future interviews.
There are three things you need to consider when getting into the German world of work: motivation, skill, and seriousness.
Remember that German recruitment agencies offer a personal approach when dealing with candidates as well as professional coaching in line with your aspirations. They make the most of digital technologies to achieve this.
It’d be a good idea to get in touch with DFP-Consulting, a recruitment agency specialising in management and executive positions in industry and service.
As you can see, working in Germany is not only very feasible, it’s highly recommended if you want to expand your professional horizons, have new experiences and responsibilities, and earn more money.
However, you need to do your research and get in touch with experts and recruitment agencies to boost your chance of success.
Are there any other ways to work in Germany? The German job centre is also an option.
While in the UK this is the traditional route for jobseekers to find employment, some prefer to avoid it at all costs.
Is the German job centre anything like the one the UK? As we’ve already seen, things aren’t exactly the same when it comes to finding work in Germany.
The German job centre is the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).
It could provide you with a few extra leads when it comes to looking for work...
Working in Germany: Others Have Done the Same
Why don’t we ask people who’ve already done it? There are plenty examples of Brits working in Germany and we don’t mean “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”.
Plenty of young graduates head off to Germany because they can earn more there than in the UK.
There’s nothing stopping you from doing the same!