The perspectives of your college major play a significant role when choosing a program to study in Germany. If you want to work in Germany, it’s essential to know which chances you can have. The country has the biggest and strongest economy in the EU, so is it really that easy to find a job after graduation?
In Germany, graduates have the best chances of getting a job in the STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, as well as Medicine and Nursing. All professions from these disciplines are included in the shortage list of occupations in the German job market.
As you can see, not all university majors are equal when it comes to the labor market. Some have greater demand, some smaller. Let’s look closer at which courses are best regarding the chances of getting a job in Germany. Wondering what jobs are common in Germany? Read this article.
Most prospective subjects to study in Germany
Overall I won’t worry much about possible unemployment in Germany. The rate is only 5% unless you decide to study politics, history, or art, where job search can be challenging.
Here is the list of the most perspective university courses to take in Germany as a foreigner:
Nursing is a typical trade profession in Germany; until the last couple of years, it has only been held at vocational schools. But now you can study it at university as a 3-year long bachelor’s program.
Nurses are by far the most demanded profession in Germany, which can be studied at university.
Read more about how to become a nurse in Germany.
2. Computer Science, Information Science
Every business and individual needs an online presence nowadays; while studying IT, you never have to worry about your job and the future.
In Germany, you won’t be without a job in Germany if are a doctor, and it doesn’t matter which country you come from. Yet, getting a place in a German university for a medical major is very challenging, without mentioning studying itself.
Only applicants with the best notes will receive a spot (unless it’s a private university), and only the best of the best foreigners will finish these 6 years of constant learning.
For this reason, many Germans study medicine in other countries where this process is easier.
Engineering had always been strong in the German economy. Many German and foreign students study engineering, but even so, the demand is still larger than the supply.
Almost all engineering majors are in high demand in Germany, especially mechanical, automotive, and electrical.
Germany is a country of innovation. Researchers and scientists are needed on a big scale. It’s particularly applicable to physicists, chemists, and biologists. The chemical industry, for example, is highly developed in Germany.
Professions in high demand in Germany
Some academic occupations in Germany are particularly in high demand. However, the most significant part of free job positions is reserved for skilled trade professionals (around 70%).
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. Only 15% of all STEM experts in Germany are women.
These experts are essential for the German economy since they work in leading and innovative German industries and, therefore, generate a lot of added value.
That’s why Germany actively welcomes foreigners to work in STEM fields; they have even lowered the minimum required salary for EU Blue Card to 43,056 EUR annually.
And what is really good to know is that every 5th employee in the STEM field comes from abroad, very often from India. The German labor market doesn’t have enough local people to fulfill the demand.
Below, you can see Germany’s most demanded specialists with a high degree.
With the booming online industry, the number of vacancies among computer scientists and 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.
Berlin is a tech start-up hub where young professionals can find exciting and prospective jobs. Getting a job in a tech company in Germany is also relatively easy.
This demand is relevant not only for programmers or software developers but also for computer science experts.
Whether automotive manufacturers or law firms, all industries and businesses need at least one tech-savvy person.
Our future is in the data. Currently, cyber security and data analytics are especially needed in the German economy.
Computer scientists, IT specialists, and software developers don’t do the same job. Software developers possess several programming languages and consequently can build new computer programs and software.
They also test existing software for errors and find solutions. By now, there are almost 3,000 open vacancies for this position, nearly a third more than a year ago.
Software developers earn more than 50,000 EUR per year on average, which is considered a very good salary in Germany.
Doctors, in contrast to dentists, are in short supply in Germany. They are officially part of the shortage list. Currently, 5,000 positions for doctors can’t be covered. Many small clinics and small cities/villages struggle to attract new employees.
Foreign medical students shouldn’t worry about their future, and the biggest hurdle is to complete the long studies (more than 6 years); finding employment is way easier.
Germany is a paradise for engineers, with vast numbers of production companies. German industry has traditionally put a strong emphasis on science and technology. Engineers also fall into a list of shortage professions, which makes job search uncomplicated.
Mechanical and vehicle construction
Due to the focus of the German industry, mechanical engineers are very needed in the country. They can work in a variety of industries, including automotive, shipbuilding, and manufacturing industries.
Although mechanical engineering is also a very popular major to study in Germany, so expect competition for a spot at university.
Today in the smartphone and laptop world, electrical engineers are needed everywhere where civilization is. Electrical engineering involves developing and manufacturing electrical, electronic, and energy-related equipment.
If you have studied electrical engineering, you are in great demand in the German labor market. Students can assume that demand will continue to increase steadily.
Potential employers for engineers in Germany can be BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Samsung, Siemens, and Sony. They are all large German corporations with thousands of employees and in constant demand for talent.
Specialists in natural science are on the shortage list in Germany. They are needed at universities, research institutions, and many businesses. These include subjects like Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Ecology, Geology, Astronomy, Meteorology, etc.
Germany has an exceptionally high demand for experts in Chemistry and Biology.
Mathematicians are specialists in algebra or geometry. Depending on if it’s theoretical or applicable math, they work in many different areas. The subject isn’t very popular to study in Germany; more and more experts are missing in the country.
Mathematicians are needed in many areas: software and telecommunications, research and development, banks and insurance companies, science, and teaching at schools and universities.
Non-degree occupations in high-demand
Almost 70% of vacant jobs in Germany belong to non-degree occupations with vocational training.
The shortage is growing every year, and local companies experience various complications because of this. Another factor is that today, more and more people prefer to study an academic profession instead of learning some trade.
Therefore, this trend naturally reduces the number of potential workers every year.
Nurses and senior care workers
Nurses have already been in high demand in Germany for many years, and senior care workers are even in greater demand. The German population is rapidly aging, and the country needs more and more workers from abroad to take care of the elderly.
Nursing in Germany is mainly studied at vocational schools. Universities only started offering this major in the last 10 years. Vocational training lasts 3 years, and foreigners are welcome to attend it.
By 2025, Germany prognoses a shortage of 150,000 nurses and senior care workers. With this rapidly growing demand, you will have excellent career chances.
Metalworkers always had been in demand. It’s the classic trade profession with different variations and focuses.
Electronics technicians or electricians
Electricians are the classical profession that is always in demand everywhere in the world. In Germany, you can choose between many fields, including:
- equipment and systems
- automation technology
- operation technology
- energy and building technology
- buildings and infrastructure systems
- information and system technology
The term Electronics technician is broad in Germany. Thus, trainees have many job options and places for work to choose from.
Specialists for plastics processing
Today, plastic is used everywhere. Germany produces and processes plastic and other synthetic materials. There are many professions to choose from in this category, all of them are in high demand.
Specialists for welding technology
It includes different professions, mainly construction mechanics in welding technology, which you can learn in one of the vocational schools.
Specialists for energy technology
Energy technology is crucial for our future; therefore, you can expect a secure job for many years to come. Different vocational courses can be found in this industry.
Mechanic for refrigeration technology is the most common occupation in this category. You will be dealing with constructions, montage, and reparations of air conditioners and such.
All these occupations can be learned in vocational schools in Germany.
Highest-paid university degrees in Germany
The future salary is an essential factor when talking about career opportunities after graduation. These two things are interconnected. However, not all the highest-paid degrees are in high demand in Germany, such as dentistry, for example.
1. Human medicine and dentistry
Doctors and dentists are by far the best-paid professionals in Germany and in many western countries, for that matter. Starting salary is 52,668 EUR, and the average annual pay is 85,100 EUR.
Followed by lawyers with starting salary is 46,524 EUR, and average annual pay is 85,000 EUR.
Doctors and law experts belong to the liberal professions in Germany. They can work independently and pay fewer taxes.
3. Natural science: physics, chemistry, and biology
Starting salary is 48,812 EUR, and the average annual pay is 60,000 EUR.
Classical scientific professions are very well-paid. Professors at universities have the highest salary, often around 80,000 EUR annually, but they are also required to have a doctor’s title.
4. Engineering: industrial engineering, mechanical, electrician
Starting salary is 47,481 EUR, and the average annual pay is 62,454 EUR.
Germany is a paradise for engineers, they will always have jobs in this high-tech country. Mechanical and electrical engineers get better paid than others and are in high demand in rapidly growing industries.
5. Mathematical and computer science
Starting salary is 46,191 EUR, and the average annual pay is 60,114 EUR.
When studying computer science, graduates can expect excellent pay in Germany, these experts are always missing, and with growing technology and digitalization, companies are ready to pay well.
The same applies to mathematics; people with rational understanding are rare, and professors at universities can count on better pay of up to 80,000 EUR per year and even more.
6. Business informatics
Starting salary is 45,566 EUR, and the average annual pay is 60,433 EUR.
Many companies are looking for a combination of business and informatics; these professionals can bring the company forward, and the CEO understands this.
Consequently, they receive great pay, especially with seniority and experience your career can grow drastically, and so the salary, and responsibilities.
Starting salary is 33,623 EUR, and the average annual pay is 44,836 EUR.
Psychology isn’t the highest-paid science. After studying psychology, graduates have various places to work: clinics, universities, companies, schools, private practices, state organizations, etc.
Therefore, the salary varies too, and university professors receive the best paycheck. A salary of 72,000 EUR is also possible, but rare.
Lowest paid degrees in Germany
Unfortunately, Germany, like any other country, has many underpaid jobs. Most humanities majors fall into this category.
The studies can be very interesting and not very demanding compared to medicine, for example, but you get what you studied for.
The unemployment rate is high among graduates from humanities/social majors, and they often end up working for a lower salary or in the wrong position due to limited job availability.
History and cultural studies
History studies include a lot of reading itself, so be prepared for this, but a degree is relatively easy to complete. I know a few history studies with a significant amount of free time.
Starting salary is 33,500 EUR, and the average annual pay is 38,400 EUR.
Theology is the study of religion and God. Starting salary in this area is very low in Germany, but with time you can work your way to the pastor in the church, who is usually well-paid.
Starting salary is 26,200 EUR (2016), and the average annual pay is 60,996 EUR if working as a pastor.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language, including a lot of reading.
Starting salary is 33,261 EUR.
Linguistics and literary studies
Germanistik and Anglistik are two popular majors, among others. Especially many international students choose to study Germanistik because they can improve their German language skills and receive a University degree at the same time.
Starting salary is 30,000 EUR, and the average annual pay is 35,500 EUR.
As well as politics, sociology, communication science, educational science, archaeology, art, and other humanities.
In the picture below, you can see the salary development with the age of the employee for all main study fields: ingenieurwissenschaften – engineering students, wirtschaftswissenschaften – economic/business students, geisteswissenschaften – humanities.
Engineering students earn more during their entire careers, and humanities – the lowest. Below are the average salaries for managing positions in the same fields.