The German job market currently has 1,2 million open vacancies, many of which are suitable for foreign candidates. It also shows how great work opportunities for foreigners are in Germany. Are you a foreign national looking to live and work in Germany?
Top jobs in Germany for foreigners in 2023 can be found in following areas:
The German job market lacks skilled professionals in several important sectors. Due to the shortage of qualified people, it’s impossible to cover all labor demands without hiring people from abroad.
Furthermore, Germany is known for its aging population. It’s estimated that by 2025 more than four million Germans will retire. It will create further opportunities for foreigners wishing to live and work in Germany. Read this article to learn how to get a job in Germany as a foreigner in 2023.
Working as a foreigner in Germany: What you need to know
Most foreign nationals need to apply for a residence and work permit in order to work in Germany.
Where the residence permit application is submitted to the German embassy abroad, and the work permit to the Federal Employment Agency. The whole process can take several months, so plan your employment early on.
The most important factors that influence a success rate are the professional qualification and the job itself. In some areas, foreigners have a hard time getting all the necessary permits.
For some third countries, however, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, there are agreements to simplify the procedure for finding work without knowledge of German.
Nonetheless, the legal hurdles for well-qualified foreigners and specialists with academic backgrounds to get a job in Germany have been reduced in the last few years.
For example, since August 1, 2012, people with a recognized university degree in Germany have had access to the EU Blue Card. It’s a residence and work permit at once.
For this, you need to prove your university degree and have a job offer with a salary of at least 56,400 EUR and 43,900 EUR for shortage professionals (2022). For EU Blue Card, approval from the Federal Employment Agency isn’t required.
Shortage professionals include specialists in:
- information technology
- natural sciences
- health care
Moreover, simplified regulations on the labor market apply to all foreign candidates with academic or vocational qualifications.
Hence, access to the German labor market is possible without approval from the Federal Employment Agency, which was a necessity in the past. Yet, the qualifications of the applicant must be equivalent to German.
New immigration laws in Germany 2022
Foreign job seekers now have much better chances in Germany thanks to the new immigration law. New rules give qualified professionals from non-EU countries more opportunities to come and work in Germany.
Who are qualified professionals?
- People with completed vocational training in Germany
- People with completed vocational training abroad
- People with a university degree which is comparable to one in Germany
Note that both groups have to get their qualifications recognized by the competent authorities in Germany.
You can easily access the German labor market
With new rules, it’s also easier to access the labor market. You only need to have work contact with the future employer in Germany and professional qualifications recognized in Germany.
In that case, Federal Employment Agency doesn’t have to prove whether there are other suitable candidates for this position from Germany or the EU. You will get a job and work permit with no priority check.
This also means you can receive a work permit for any job and not only for one from the shortage list.
For people with vocational training
Furthermore, foreign candidates with completed vocational, i.e. non-academic training, have great chances of getting a job in Germany.
Now you aren’t restricted to only jobs from the skills shortage list. In fact, you can work in all occupations which are covered by your professional qualification.
International students can work full-time jobs in Germany
Previously all students must have finished their studies in Germany before undertaking a full-time job. With new rules, you can stop your studies at some point and get a full-time job if you want to.
The job offer should match your professional area. At that point, you can only undertake a trade (vocational) job and not the academic one.
Besides that, you can switch from studies to vocational training (Ausbildung).
In-demand jobs in Germany
In Germany, foreigners are commonly hired for jobs with high demand. And understandably so, there are just not enough Germans to cover all open vacancies.
There is a continuously high demand for people with certain professional skills in the German labor market. These include professionals with a university degree but specialists with vocational education.
Some in-demand jobs that require a university degree are:
- natural scientists
- IT specialists
Specialists with vocational qualifications are:
- various technicians
Moreover, millions of Germans will retire over the coming years, which will also create demand in areas where there are no shortages yet.
The healthcare sector is also suffering a shortage of workers as many current medical professionals approach retirement age.
The unemployment rate is low in Germany, where skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) and health occupations are in short supply, particularly in southern and eastern Germany.
Also, more IT specialists and mathematicians are needed in different areas of the economy, such as banks, insurance firms, and other large companies.
More and more businesses switch to automatization and digitization; hence the demand for IT people will rise exponentially in the future.
Studies and forecasts have shown that Germany will have a shortage of approximately three million workers by the year 2030.
Even now, every 5th employee in the STEM field comes from abroad, very often from India.
According to July 2020 statistics, there are currently just over 573,000 job vacancies in Germany. Vacancies include particularly skilled professions as well as casual work in areas such as English teaching and hospitality.
The German labor market doesn’t have enough local people to meet the demand.
Nursing is one of the biggest areas where Germany needs much more workers than is currently available on the market.
Additional 150,000 nurses will be required over the next ten years in German hospitals and nursing homes.
Doctors are also needed in Germany. For example, currently, the German healthcare system needs about 5,000 physicians to fill the need. To get a job as a doctor, you need to recognize your medical training in Germany.
2. Engineering and science
Germany is one of the world leaders in technology and innovation. Hence, it has a large amount of manufacturing companies with a high number of listings for various engineering and technical positions. These mainly include specialists in the automotive, mechanical and electrical engineering fields as well telecommunications and information technology.
Demand for IT specialists has risen by a quarter; in 2018, around 42,000 new jobs were created in the IT sector. The shortage of IT experts has more than doubled in the past 3 years alone.
This demand is relevant not only for programmers or software developers but also for computer science experts. All industries and businesses, whether automotive manufacturers or law firms need at least one tech-savvy person.
It also includes mathematicians and specialists in different fields of science, such as biotechnology or nanotechnology. With a large pharmacological industry, Germany has a particularly high demand for chemistry and biology experts.
Various scientists are needed at universities, research institutions, and many businesses.
The gap in specialists for so-called STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) increased to 338,000 specialists, 42,000 more than a year ago.
Potential employers for engineers in Germany can be BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Samsung, Siemens, and Sony. They are all big German corporations with many thousands of employees and in constant demand for talent.
3. Hospitality and tourism
How to work as a nurse in Germany? Read in this article!
English-speaking jobs in Germany
Finding an English-speaking job in Germany is challenging but possible. Generally, job seekers are limited by employment in big international companies or some English-speaking jobs, such as teachers and tutors.
Applicants must keep in mind, that only 3 in 100 jobs in Germany are in English. And even job advertisements in English don’t mean you don’t need German skills at all.
Often you can see requirements for good German and English written in the ad.
Foreigners who look for jobs in international companies or tech startups have a higher chance of finding work in Germany without speaking German.
Foreigners who want to work in HR, accounting, marketing, consulting, health care, or law have the least opportunity to find employment in English in Germany.
In the end, it strongly depends on your skillset; for some professions, lack of german isn’t an issue. For example, the IT sector, which doesn’t require much interaction with customers.
Your job success with only English is highly dependent on:
- Your skills and work experience
- The industry or career you hope to work in
- Where in Germany you’re living (or where you hope to relocate to)
List of jobs for non-German speakers:
Jobs with high degree required:
- Software Developer
- Systems Administrator
- Social Media Manager
- Content writing
- Digital Marketing
- Customer Service (International)
- English Teacher/Tutor
- College Professor/Tutor
Jobs with no qualifications or vocational training:
- City Guide
- Hotel staff
- Flight Attendant
- Pet Sitting
Read about the best-paid vocational professions in 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.
The tourism sector can offer English speakers a wide range of jobs. As well as the IT industry, engineering, and scientific research. English-speaking tutors and college professors are most welcome in Germany.
Here are the German cities with the largest amount of English-speaking jobs:
German regions with the most English-speaking jobs:
- North Rhine-Westphalia
Berlin is great for expats, as it is by far the largest city in the country and probably the most international socially and 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.
Where to look for an English-speaking job in Germany?
On these websites, you can see all available English-speaking jobs in Germany:
- The Local Jobs
- Jobs in Germany
- Europe Language Jobs
- Honeypot (developer-focused)
- Imagine (for software developers)
- Angel.co (startups)
- German Tech Jobs
- Germany Startup Jobs
- Berlin Startup Jobs
- Munich Startup Jobs
- Frankfurt Startup Jobs
1. Teaching English in Germany
Most opportunities for native English speakers, of course, can be found in teaching professions.
You can teach English in Germany in various places ranging from normal schools to lecturing at universities. 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 a native English lecturer, since most of their classes are taught in English.
2. Cafes, Bars, Restaurants and Hotels
Many foreign students (including exchange 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.
3. 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 expats in other German cities besides Frankfurt.
International leaders are needed in all parts of the world. Professionals with experience of working in different countries 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.
5. Jobs in large international companies
Foreign specialists have great opportunities to get a job in a large German corporation. Most of them have branches in other countries.
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)
Come to Germany for a job search in 2023
As a non-EU citizen, you can also come to Germany and look for a job. This is now possible thanks to the new immigration law, where everyone with professional qualifications can come and search for a job.
You will receive a residence permit for up to six months. The main requirement is the recognition of your foreign qualifications by the competent authority in Germany.
However, applicants also need to have enough funds in the banking account and knowledge of German at the B1 level. Furthermore, on the Job Seeker Visa, you can work for up to 10 hours per week.
You haven’t finished university? Read more about how one can get a job in Germany without a university degree.
Factors influencing your chances of getting a job in Germany
Overall your chances of getting a job in Germany as a foreigner are highly dependent on:
- Your nationality
- Your skills and work experience
- The industry or career path
- Where in Germany you’re living (or where you relocate to)
The number one important factor when looking for a job in Germany is your country of origin or passport you have.
If you’re a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you can easily move to Germany and start your job search without a university degree, since you don’t need a work permit.
You can choose from a wide range of jobs for unqualified workers in all sectors, depending on your goals and interests.
For non-EU/EEA citizens, the process of finding a job in Germany isn’t that easy. They will need to apply for an appropriate visa and work permit.
German Work Visa
Depending on where you are from, different rules apply:
- USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Australia, or New Zealand? You’re allowed to come to Germany and stay there visa-free for up to 90 days (as a tourist). If you also want to work there, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit.
- Other than the countries listed above? You’ll need to apply for a work visa. That means you have to get a signed work contract before entering Germany.
German work permit
The work permit enables you to work in Germany as a non-EU citizen. There are some exemptions for work permit requirements:
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea
- San Marino
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Serbia and Montenegro
These countries can enjoy simplified processes of getting a work permit in Germany.
To get a work permit in Germany, the applicant must have a concrete job offer and related professional qualifications. Moreover, professional qualifications must be recognized in Germany.
Besides that requirements, German employment authorities will check if the conditions for foreign employees correspond to those for German employees. It includes remuneration, vacation days, and working hours.
Are you an American looking for a job in Germany? Read this article.