Working in Germany

Working in Germany places expats in one of the world's largest economies. Immigration policies have tried to curb unskilled immigrants entering the country to protect local labour, but there are opportunities for qualified expats in industries with skills shortages.

Those moving to Germany from outside the EU will need to ensure that they are eligible for a work permit for Germany

Job market in Germany

The German IT industry is both enormous and in desperate need of employees. Policy is shaped to attract qualified personnel, so it's popular with expats in that field. There are also opportunities for expats working in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and high-tech science fields.

Salaries in Germany are some of the highest in the world, and expats with degrees in sought-after fields can expect to earn well.

When negotiating their employment packages, expats will need to remember that they'll be discussing their salary as a gross amount. Taxes in Germany are high and depending on their salary, expats can have as much as 50 percent deducted from their monthly earnings. Many employers will lure expats by offering incentives like performance bonuses, salary reviews and contributions towards private health insurance policies.

The German labour market is highly regulated and as a result employees have lots of protection and benefits. All workers in Germany are entitled to holidays, paid sick days, maternity/paternity leave and the option of working only part-time.

Finding a job in Germany

Most expats who move to Germany are transferred from the overseas offices of international companies. 

Those who are looking to move to Germany without a job in hand will need to get to grips with some of the nuances of the German job market. When applying for a job in Germany, expats will have to provide a comprehensive CV (Lebenslauf) that documents their entire education and professional carrier in reverse chronological order.

They'll also have to attach written recommendations from previous employers and copies of degrees and awards. It's best to include these with the original application rather than waiting for them to be requested, as may be the case elsewhere.

German employers want a complete picture of prospective employees and omitting any important details could negatively impact an expat's chances of success, especially if the other applicants are German.

Many expats enlist a recruitment agency when looking for a job in Germany. They can help find out about jobs in specific fields and advise candidates on which documents to include for a particular application. They're also well equipped to advise expats about what they should expect in terms of salaries and benefits.

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