The ultimate guide to landing a tech job in Germany

11 min read

Are you looking for a career boost in the heart of Europe? Germany provides an abundance of opportunities for professional development. Find out how to land your dream job.

Andrea Roth Last updated on March 15, 2023
Render of an abstract job environment showing a laptop computer on top of a pink desk

Overview of the German job market

First, let’s take a look at the key industries and employers in Germany to provide a better understanding of the German job market.

Largest industries in Germany

Germany’s GDP increased by 1.8% in 2022. Despite high inflation, growth was supported by the boost in demand that followed the post-pandemic reopening of the economy. Germany is the fourth-largest economy according to GDP after the US, China, and Japan.

The automotive, chemical, and electrical industries contribute to Germany’s economic success. Other vital sectors include IT, life science and pharmaceuticals, logistics, and healthcare. The key players and most prominent employers are:

This diversity of industries translates to many skills needed, predominantly in the engineering, IT, energy, and healthcare environment.

Skilled professionals are in high demand

Germany’s booming industries require 400,000 skilled professional migrant workers annually due to a skills shortage caused by an aging population and a strong economy.

Meeting specific requirements like qualification recognition and language proficiency is necessary. Still, the current shortage makes finding a job and getting a visa relatively easy.

Where most skilled migrant professionals work in Germany

Due to the location of companies and industries that are keen on hiring skilled migrant workers, most foreign skilled professionals work in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, and Stuttgart in the sectors mentioned above.

An increasing number of skilled migrants who relocate to Germany for professional reasons start working in the IT and startup environment. Thousands of startups are registered in Germany every year, often in the innovation and startup hub in the Berlin scene. Therefore, it is no surprise that more unicorn companies emerge, for example, N26 bank.

Summary of the German job market

The German economy has moved past the Covid-pandemic. Germany’s employment rates are high at about 45.5 million people in employment (February 2023), and the unemployment rate is at 5.7% – one of the lowest rates in Europe and the EU.

The German work environment

While “Made in Germany" is not a standardized quality seal, this declaration of origin stands for high quality, longevity, and distinction. It symbolizes the German work culture and business environment, which generally strives for excellence, not only in the manufacturing industries but also in the service sectors.

Work & business culture

Of course, the experience of working in Germany largely depends on the region and industry you are working in and the business culture of your employer and colleagues.

General values and characteristics that the German work environment is renowned for are efficiency, punctuality, and high quality. Achieving the best results during every hour of your working day is typically expected.

Working for a traditional company or corporation

While the German work environment is generally very modern, liberal, inclusive, and equality-focused, the working practice in larger and traditional companies or certain industries like finance or medical can be rather formal and hierarchical.

Most employees strictly differentiate between work and spare time, and superiors are generally respectfully addressed with “Sie" instead of the informal “Du". Proper business clothes are considered professional.

However, this is changing now, not only in startup businesses but also in larger companies and corporations.

While German language skills are not necessarily a visa pre-requirement, the recruitment criteria are determined by each company individually. Generally, the basic language skills of the country where you plan to work are always helpful.

Larger international corporations and startups may not require German language proficiency, whereas smaller and more traditional companies may anticipate a certain level of German communication skills from you.

Working for a startup

Working at a Berlin-based startup often means a more relaxed work environment, widely spoken English, and benefits like massages at your workplace.

Keep in mind that your employer will want something in exchange: healthy, happy, and productive employees who achieve excellent work results and are willing to go the extra mile.

Salary structures in Germany

Over the last two decades, Germany’s average annual gross salary gradually increased to 49,200 Euros (~52,600 USD) per year in 2022 across all jobs and sectors.

Notably, there is a collective agreement (Tarifvertrag) for all industries in Germany – a binding agreement between the union and the employers’ association or an individual employer. About half of all employees in Germany are paid above the collective agreement.

Since October 2022, the legal minimum wage per hour has been set at 12 (~11.15 USD) Euros.

Larger cities and industry hotspots generally pay higher wages than smaller cities. Overall, wages are higher in Germany’s West than in the East.

Women working in Germany

Around 47% of female employees work part-time, compared to 11% of male employees, who work an average of 39 hours per week. This naturally results in lower gross and net salaries for women.

While the gender pay gap is on the radar in Germany and in the process of being minimized, it still exists. To date, women are paid, on average, 18% less compared to men with similar qualifications and in similar positions.

Gross vs. net salary

Your net salary (Nettogehalt) in Germany is calculated by deducting the following from your gross salary (Bruttogehalt):

  • Income tax: progressive 0%-45%
  • Church tax: 8%-9% (if applicable)
  • Solidarity surcharge: 5.5%
  • Social security (retirement): 9.3% payable by the employer and 9.3% payable by the employees
  • Unemployment insurance (mandatory): 2.5%
  • Health insurance (mandatory): 14.6% (14% reduced rate)
  • Long-term care insurance: 3,05%-3,4%

Keep in mind that, to be eligible for an EU Blue Card, the minimum gross salary of the job you have been offered in Germany must be at least 45,300 € (~49,600 USD) or 41,042 € (~44,900 USD) in MINT professions, among other requirements.

Advantages of working in Germany

Working in an advanced industrial location like Germany comes with many advantages and benefits for employees, including:

Bonuses and remuneration

Some employers offer additional remuneration through a “13th salary" or commission and performance-based incentives. Other benefits may include a laptop, mobile phone, or a company car. These in-kind benefits are also subject to income tax.

If you relocate to Germany from abroad, you may negotiate a relocation allowance (Umzugspauschale).

Ensure to inform yourself of the possible added benefits of the company you are interested in and the industry standards, and prepare a rational negotiation tactic.

Excellent work-life balance

Depending on your employer and negotiation skills, a typical work week in Germany is 35, 38, or 40 hours between Monday and Friday. 9 am to 5 pm are often considered core working hours. Since the Covid-pandemic, remote work has become more common and accepted if the job scope allows it.

Compared to other OECD countries, where employees work 43 hours per week on average, employees in Germany only work 34.6 hours per week on average.

The German Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) rigorously regulates the maximum working hours per week (48 hours), resting times, working on weekends and holidays, and more.

Salaries are paid once on the 1st day of the following month for your work services of the previous month. Bi-monthly payments and advances are not common in Germany.

According to the Federal Holidays Act (Bundesurlaubsgesetz), all employees in Germany who work five days per week are entitled to at least 20 days of paid leave per year. However, paid leave of up to 30 days is common in Germany. You may also be able to take unpaid leave, request educational leave (e.g., five days per year legal entitlement after six months of employment in Hamburg), a sabbatical, or other forms of leave.

Many public holidays

Germany has 10-12 public holidays, depending on the state you live and work in. Generally, Southern states have more (religious) public holidays. The most important holidays in Germany are Christmas, New Year, and Easter. Whenever public holidays are on a Tuesday or Thursday, employees love to take bridge day (Brückentage) on Monday or Friday.

In the Western states of Germany, particularly in Cologne (Rhineland-Palatinate), the carnival starts on November 11. It is celebrated with big festivities in February, with many employees taking days off of work to do so.

Generous sick leave regulations

Physical and mental health generally have a high priority for German employers. Legally, employers have to provide paid sick leave for up to 30 days per year without being able to terminate the contract based on this. However, employers may require a doctor’s note, often from the third day of consecutive sick leave.

If you are sick for more than 42 days, your health insurance covers your wage replacement pay, which is lower than your regular wage.

How to find & get a job in Germany

From your work visa to bureaucratic issues like address registration, mandatory health insurance, and paying taxes – finding a job in Germany requires a structured approach.

Step 1: Search for a job in Germany

To find a job in Germany, Nioomi can help you find opportunities by becoming part of our Talent Pool.

Creating a job profile on Nioomi makes it visible to our extensive network of employers in Germany. Companies interested in your profile can invite you for an interview, and you get to decide whom you want to meet.

In addition, Nioomi also checks whether you qualify for a work visa in Germany. Our eligibility check can provide personalized information on visa options, requirements, and application procedures based on your individual circumstances.

Step 2: Apply for a job in Germany (Recruitment process)

The recruitment process can be divided into application, interview, and contract negotiation.


When applying for a job through Nioomi, you don’t need to write a cover letter (Anschreiben). Instead, we focus on your skills and qualifications, which are highlighted in your CV (Lebenslauf).

Make sure to keep your CV brief and relevant to the company’s needs. Stick to a maximum of two to three pages and highlight what sets you apart from other applicants and how you can benefit the company.

While including a friendly and professional photo is not required, it can give a good first impression to the recruiter.


If your application convinces the recruiter, they will send you a request via Nioomi. If you accept, the recruiter may invite you to a personal interview.

Various scenarios are possible here: There may be several rounds, and the interview may be conducted online or in person. Assessment tests and full-day group interviews may also be possible.

You may be given a small task to solve beforehand and present the results during the interview, or you may be asked to solve a small problem (often based on the approximation method).

Contract negotiation

The contract negotiation begins if both parties would like to work with each other. Consider your salary, (in-kind) bonuses and remuneration, (paid) leave and other benefits, as well as the duration of the contract (fixed-term contracts, e.g., for two years, are not uncommon in the beginning). Remember to negotiate a relocation allowance (Umzugspauschale).

Make sure to negotiate with a clear rationale based on the information you have researched and compiled on the company and the specific industry.

Germany’s probation period (Probezeit) is generally 3-6 months. During this time, the notice period to terminate the contract from both sides is shorter, and both parties can get to know each other better.

Once both parties are satisfied with the content of the work contract, sign it, and start the process of getting your employment visa.

Step 3: Migration to Germany

Congratulations, you have landed your dream job! Now it’s time for the exciting part, moving to Germany.

The German relocation experts at Nioomi are happy to assist you in this whole process. Contact Nioomi for your personalized individual offer.

Key takeaways

  • Germany is an attractive place to live and work in the heart of Europe. The country’s largest industries are the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, chemical, and electrical industry.
  • Non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens must get a job seeker or work permit before entering Germany. Entering with a Schengen visa or through a visa-free agreement and applying for a work permit will be unsuccessful.
  • The German labor market requires 400,000 skilled professional migrant workers every year to meet the needs of the country’s booming industries.

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