Germany attracts many foreigners who aim to work there; Americans aren’t an exception. It’s not surprising since the German economy is the fourth biggest in the world, and many companies operate globally.
As an American and, hence, a native English speaker, your chances of getting a job in Germany are high. Best job opportunities can be found in the education, business, management, IT, engineering, health, and research sectors.
Nowadays, 120,000 US citizens are living and working in Germany. Most of them reside in large cities like Berlin, Munchen, and Frankfurt. So you also want to get a job in Germany? This article will help you to understand the job market for US citizens in Germany and how to get a desirable position.
Jobs for Americans in Germany
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, just 5,2% as of 2022. Moreover, in some parts of southern Germany, such as Bavaria, the unemployment rate is even lower.
Therefore, this country has plenty of jobs for locals as well as for foreign citizens who are willing to relocate.
Nonetheless, despite the large labour market, only 5% of job advertisements in Germany target English speakers. Thus, you need to have a clear understanding and expectations about working in Germany and your opportunities.
This article will help you to determine your chances and make a move to getting a job in Germany easier.
Consequently, most Americans will have the highest chances of getting a job in the major German cities.
German regions with the most English-speaking jobs:
- North Rhine-Westphalia
The easiest jobs to get as a native English speaker
Finding a job as an English speaker in Germany can be challenging since many Germans are also fluent in English.
One way to go about it is to look for jobs in areas with a high demand for English speakers, for example:
- Customer Service
Teaching English in Germany
Most opportunities for native English speakers can be found in teaching professions.
You can teach English in Germany in various places ranging from regular schools to lecturing at university. For this job, one will need a suitable degree or TEFL qualification and experience.
Many language schools in Germany hire English teachers who work on a freelance basis.
Universities and colleges
Also, various universities look for English-speaking professors and lecturers. For example, any business school in Germany will gladly hire an American lecturer since most of its classes are taught in English.
Even my small college has several professors from the US.
Cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels
Many US students enjoy working in the hospitality industry during their studies in Germany. If this field is something for you, you can also get a full-time and long-term job in one of those places.
*If you are studying in Germany, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
Banking and Finance
Frankfurt is the European financial capital with a large number of expats from around the world. Most of them are working in the financial industry.
The city is home to 400 banks, as well as the Frankfurt stock exchange which is the largest in Germany.
Possible jobs in German finance:
- Finance manager
- Chief product officer
- Investments manager
- Fund manager
- Business controller
- Finance analylist
However, jobs in finance are available for American expats in other German cities besides Frankfurt.
US executives and managers are needed in all parts of the world. In the end, the American economy is the largest one, and professionals with US expertise are highly valuable.
Possible jobs in management:
- Project manager
- Supply chain manager
- HR manager
- Customer service manager
- IT manager
- General manager
- Social media manager
- Data manager and many other
See more English-speaking managerial positions in Germany here.
Jobs in large international companies
As a US citizen, you will have great opportunities to get a job in a large German corporation. Most of them have branches in the US or other English-speaking counties.
Some of the biggest companies in Germany, and eventually your potential employers, include:
- Volkswagen (automotive)
- Daimler (automotive)
- Allianz (finance)
- BMW (automotive)
- Siemens (electronics)
- Bosch (electronics)
- Deutsche Telekom (telecommunications)
How to find a job as an American in Germany?
At that point, you are more informed about the job opportunities in Germany, but where to look for them?
There are several online job boards that post job ads in English.
- Jobooh – jobs in startups
- Stepstone – includes internships and graduate positions
English-speaking jobs in Germany
- English jobs
- The Local
- Toplanguage jobs – English-speaking jobs in Germany (and other languages)
Besides the classic websites looking for a job on LinkedIn and Facebook is a good idea. There are many Facebook groups dedicated to just job search in Germany, but you can also register on Expats groups.
In the latter, you can see job offers popping up frequently.
Work as an American in Germany
Germany has welcomed migrants for many years, and millions of Europeans and non-Europeans head to this country to find a better future. However, the majority of them come from EU/EEA states. Thus, they can live and work in Germany without a visa and special permission.
The situation looks different with non-EU citizens who want to get a job in Germany.
Luckily, Americans have an advantage when looking for a job in Germany. US citizens belong to so-called privileged states. They can enter Germany visa-free and stay for up to 3 months.
After receiving a job offer, US citizens can apply for a residence permit within Germany.
Besides that, people from the USA, together with Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and Korea, have the opportunity to work in Germany without considerable difficulties. The process is much easier in comparison to other non-EU/EEA citizens.
For instance, Americans can take employment in Germany if they have a job offer and the federal employment agency has approved it.
Moreover, American education and certificates are recognized in Germany. And the recognition of professional qualifications is only needed if you want to work in a regulated profession, e.g., a doctor, nurse, or lawyer.
Employment in Germany for US citizens
Germany has plenty of jobs available for locals as well as for foreign citizens with skills and expertise. Your future employment in Germany depends on many factors; not everyone has the same chances.
Wondering what jobs are in high demand in Germany in 2022? Read the full article here.
1. Your experience and expertise
The more relevant job experience you have, the better your chances of being hired.
The unfair advantage of Americans is their fluency in English, but without professionalism and experience, they are unlikely will be employed.
Yet, English-speaking jobs in Germany are in high demand, so you have a solid chance of getting a job where English will be the main element of your work, such as a teacher or tutor.
But by getting some experience so you can definitely beat any competition.
2. The seniority of the position
This is probably the most critical factor. If your potential role in the company is senior, your country of origin will be less critical, and so your German skills.
There are plenty of American companies in Germany which are hiring US citizens for positions with higher responsibility, such as management.
Moreover, good leaders with international backgrounds are needed in German companies, too, especially in larger, multinational corporations.
What if you didn’t go to university? Read more about how one can get a job in Germany without a university degree.
3. The industry
Some industries work more internationally, some only within Germany or DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) region. To work in that department, you must speak at least decent German.
The IT sector is mainly run internationally; however, if you are a banker and want to work in a bank or any other place in a predominantly customer-facing role, you must also speak German.
4. The size of the company
Larger international companies have more foreign employers, and in fact, many of them have branches in the USA. Consequently, they will be more interested in having American workers since it’s an advantage for them.
If you are a college professor, business schools would be something you should consider working in, compared to traditional universities with solid engineering or medical teaching.
However, many small start-ups hire people from abroad; they have different approaches to work, think more globally, and want to be international right from the beginning.
The legal side of Employment in Germany
Here you will find legal information about your employment in Germany as an American.
If you are coming to Germany as part of your employment in the US or another country, you don’t need a visa or work permit.
These special groups of US citizens can enter Germany without a visa and are allowed to work here. This rule applies in particular to:
- Business Travellers
- Internal Training
Nonetheless, almost every employee can come to Germany as part of a so-called business trip and pursue their job. However, the stay is limited and should not exceed 90 days within 180 days or 12 months if you are coming for the training.
If your stay in Germany is planned for longer, you will need to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of employment.
Yet, it must be issued before you start work in the country. It can be done after arrival in Germany but as soon as possible since the process can take a few months.
There are two ways to make it, either with or without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
The residence permit can be issued without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency for the following US citizens:
- Senior executives and specialists
- EU Blue Card holders and applicants
In all other cases, you must first receive approval from the Federal Employment Agency. However, as an American, you are a privileged national, so the job will most likely be approved.
Types of residence permit for US citizens in Germany
US citizens don’t need a visa for airport transit, tourist, or business trips for a stay of up to 90 days. Everyone who wishes to stay in Germany for longer is required to obtain a residence permit.
American citizens may apply for the Residence Permit at the immigration office in the German city where they currently stay. Otherwise, it can be done before the arrival at any German embassy or consulate in the US.
- Los Angeles
- New York
- San Francisco
There are two types of residence permits available:
- German Temporary Residence Permit
- German EU Blue Card
German Temporary Residence Permit
The standard temporary residence permit allows US citizens to move to Germany for a limited period of time. This period of stay can also be extended. Besides, it’s possible to exchange this visa for a permanent residence permit or EU Blue Card.
Reasons for a standard German residence permit:
- Attending training courses (Ausbildung or apprenticeship)
- Family reunion
- Former Germans who want to return to Germany
German EU Blue Card
EU Blue Card was made for highly-skilled non-EU workers so that they could start their careers in Germany in an easier way.
This residence permit has salary requirements, where the minimum annual salary must be 56,400 EUR or 43,992 EUR for shortage occupations (2022).
Other requirements are:
- German or foreign university degree
- At least 5 years of work experience in the field
You haven’t finished university? Read more about how one can get a job in Germany without a university degree.
US citizens should apply for one of two permits within three months of their stay in Germany and before they officially start working.
Unlikely, there will be any problems in issuing a work permit for US citizens. However, the procedure usually takes four to six weeks from the date of application; the EU Blue Card might even take several months.
Best German cities to work and live as an American
The German capital Berlin has a significant startup and tech scene. Berlin has the most considerable number of American expats in the entire country.
Berlin is also known as home to large and globally recognized companies, which are amongst the biggest employers in the world. Thus, getting a job as a foreigner will be easier in the German capital.
Munich is a cultural hub and southeast city with a population of 1.5 million people. The 3rd largest city in Germany has high living standards and a great international atmosphere.
Munich is the headquarters of many manufacturing companies like BMW, Bosch, Siemens, and others.
With more than 530,000 people with foreign backgrounds, about 37.7% of Munich’s population consists of people from other countries. Don’t forget the biggest beer festival in the world – Oktoberfest. Which actually attracts a lot of visitors from the US.
The cost of living in Munich is higher than in most German cities. Fortunately, wages stand well above the national average thanks to a large supply of highly qualified employees.
Frankfurt is the 5th largest city in Germany, a global hub for commerce, banking, finance, and education. Banking is the primary sector in the city with the highest buildings in Germany.
This makes Frankfurt the perfect place for American expats seeking a perspective job in banking and finance.
With about 735,000 residents, it’s an ideal choice for those who prefer a smaller but vibrant city that never sleeps.
Hamburg is the 2nd largest city in Germany. With a population of approximately 1.8 million people, it’s also a popular destination for tourists worldwide.
Hamburg is a large banking city home to many professional sports teams and a favourite among expats looking for jobs in finance.
In addition to its banking industry, Hamburg hosts the 3rd largest port in Europe, making it a source of many international transport and logistics jobs.
Other great cities for American expats are Leipzig, Dresden, Stuttgart, and Cologne.
Working in Germany without speaking German
As a native English speaker, you have a good chance of finding employment in Germany. For example, it can be a position in a big international company or some English teaching.
Everything will depend on your skill set and experience; for some professions, the lack of German isn’t an issue, for example, in the IT sector, which doesn’t require much interaction with customers.
You might be lucky to find a big company with a presence in the USA. Also, tourism might offer a wide range of jobs for English speakers.
Therefore, your job opportunities in Germany are highly dependent on:
- Skills and work experience
- Industry or field
- Location within Germany
Your chances of finding a job will be generally higher if you have a highly demanded skill that doesn’t require much interaction with customers and such.
IT jobs might suit very well in this case. All professions on the shortage list offer great opportunities for foreigners who are willing to work in Germany, even if they don’t speak the local language.
Overall, tourism, as well as IT, engineering, and scientific research, can offer Americans a wide range of jobs. Moreover, English tutors and college professors are most welcome in Germany.
Berlin is great for expats, as it’s by far the largest city in the country and probably the most international, not only socially but also professionally.
It has a high concentration of startups and international companies, and many of them use English for daily work.
Secondly, you can have a look at Munich, yet another English-friendly city to work in Germany. Great place for accounting, finance, and engineering.
Thirdly, Hamburg – the third biggest city in Germany, located on the river Elbe. The city is known as a hub of technology and industry, meaning that English will be at least a bit more commonly spoken here than in other regions of Germany.
You can receive a perspective job in manufacturing, technology, or medicine.
Finally, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt are financial cities and also have a significant amount of international workers.
List of jobs for non-German speakers:
A high degree will be required for these jobs:
- Software Developer
- Systems Administrator
- Social Media Manager
- Content writing
- Digital Marketing
- Customer Service (International)
- English Teacher/Tutor
- College Professor/Tutor
Partially no qualifications are needed for these jobs:
- City Guide
- Flight Attendant
- Pet Sitting
On these websites, you can see all available English-speaking jobs in Germany:
- The Local.de
- Germany StartUp Jobs.com
- Berlin Top Jobs.com
As a native English speaker, you certainly have an advantage, but be aware that millions of foreigners come to Germany and search for English-speaking jobs.
The offer is there, but it’s still not enough to cover all demand. Consequently, you will compete with many people.