Work in Germany: Jobs For Americans

Jan 23, 2020Move to Germany, Work in Germany

Germany attracts many foreigners who aiming to find a job there, Americans aren’t an exception. It’s not surprising since the German economy is the 4 biggest in the world and many companies operate internationally.

As an American and, hence, native English speaker, your chances of getting a job in Germany are high. Best job opportunities can be found in fields like education, business, management, IT, engineering, health, and research.

Nowadays 120,000 US citizens are living and working in Germany. Most of them reside in large cities like Berlin, Munchen, and Frankfurt. Want to get a job in Germany? This article will help you to understand the job market for Americans 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 3,9% as from May 2020. 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 labor market, only 5% of jobs advertisements in Germany are targeting 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.

Here are German cities with the largest amount of English speaking jobs:

  1. Berlin
  2. Munich
  3. Hamburg
  4. Frankfurt
  5. Düsseldorf
  6. Stuttgart
  7. Cologne
  8. Dresden

Consequently, most Americans will have the highest chances of getting a job in the fourth biggest German cities.

German regions with most English speaking jobs:

  1. Bavaria
  2. Berlin
  3. North Rhine-Westphalia
  4. Hesse
  5. Baden-Würtemberg
  6. Hamburg

The easiest jobs to get as a native English speaker

It can be challenging to find a job as the only English speaker in Germany 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:

  • Teaching/Tutoring/Lecturing
  • Childcare
  • Customer Service
  • Hospitality

Teaching English in Germany for Americans

Most opportunities for native English speakers are, of course, can be found in teaching professions.

You can teach English in Germany in various places ranging from normal schools to lecturing at university. For this job, one will need a suitable degree or TEFL qualification and experience.

Language schools

Many language schools in Germany hire English teachers who are working 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 their classes are taught in English.

Even my small college has several professors from the US.

Also read: How to get a job in Germany without speaking German?

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:

  • Accountant
  • Finance manager
  • Associate
  • Manager
  • Director
  • 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.

Management

US leaders 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:

  • Teamlead
  • 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 in getting a job in a large German corporation. Most of them have branches in the US or in 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.

General platforms

English-speaking jobs in Germany

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 welcomes migrants for many years, millions of Europeans and Non-Europeans head to this country to find a better future. However, the majority of them are coming 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 Americans 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 big difficulties. The process is much easier in comparison to other non-EU/EEA citizens.

For instance, Americans are allowed to 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 doctor, nurse, or lawyer.

Employment in Germany as an American

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 2021? Read the full article here.

Your Experience and Expertise

The more relevant job experience you have, the better your chances of being hired.

The unfair advantage of Americans is the 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.

The Seniority Of Your Position

This is probably the most critical factor. If your potential role in the company is senior, your country of origin will be less important 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.

You haven’t finished university? Read more about how one can get a job in Germany without a university degree.

The Industry

Some industries working more internationally, some only within Germany or DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) region. To work in that department you will need to speak at least decent German.

IT sector is mostly run internationally, on the other hand, if you are a banker and want to work in a bank or any other place in a predominantly customer-facing role you must speak German as well.

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 to have 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 strong engineering or medical teaching.

However, there are many small start-ups hiring people from abroad, they have different approaches to work, think more globally, and want to be international right from the beginning.

My first job in Germany was English-speaking in a multicultural start-up with small branches in handfull other countries.

Legal Side of Employment in Germany

Here you will find legal information about your employment in Germany as an American.

Short-term stay

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:

  • Executives
  • 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.

Long-term stay

If your stay in Germany is planned for longer, you will need to apply for a residence permit with the purpose of employment.

Yet, it must be issued before you start the work in the country. It can be done after arrival to 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:

  • Executives
  • Senior executives and specialists
  • EU Blue Card holders/applciants

In all other cases, you need to receive approval from the Federal Employment Agency first. However, as an American you are a privileged national, so the job will be most likely approved.

Types of Residence Permits for U.S Citizens

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 in the immigration office in the German city where they currently stay. Otherweise, it can be done before the arrival at any German embassy or consulate in the US.

These include:

  • Washington
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • 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 be extended also the visa can be exchanged to a permanent residence permit or EU Blue Card.

Reasons for a standard German residence permit:

  • Work
  • Studies
  • Attending training courses (Ausbildung or apprentenship)
  • 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 they can start their career in Germany in an easier way.

This residence permit has salary requirements, where the minimum annual salary must be 56,800 EUR or 44,304 EUR for shortage occupations (2021).

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.

Application Prozess

US citizens should apply for one of two permits within three months of the 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 normally takes between four and 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

Berlin

The German capital Berlin has a big startup and tech scene. Berlin has the biggest number of American expats in the entire country.

Also known as home for 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

“BMW office in Munich”

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 headquartered 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 compared to the majority of German cities. Fortunately, wages stand well above the national average thanks to a large supply of highly qualified employees.

Frankfurt

As the 5th largest city in Germany, Frankfurt is a global hub for commerce, banking, finance, and education. Banking is the main 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

“Famous Hamburg Speicherplatz”

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 from around the world.

Home to many professional sports teams, Hamburg is a large banking city, and it is a favorite 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, Cologne.

Working in Germany Without Speaking German

As a native English speaker, you have good chances of finding employment in Germany. It can be a position in a big international company or some English teaching, for example.

Everything will depend on your skill set and experience, for some professions 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.

Also read: How to get a job in Germany without speaking German?

Therefore, your job opportunities in Germany are highly dependent on:

  • Skills and work experience
  • Industry or field
  • Location within Germany

Skills

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 in the shortage list offer great opportunities for foreigners who are willing to work in Germany, even if they don’t speak the local language.

Industry

Overall, tourism as well as IT, engineering, scientific research can offer Americans a wide range of jobs. Moreover, English tutors and college professors are most welcomed in Germany.

Location

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 needed for these jobs:

  • City Guide
  • Waiter/Barkeeper
  • Courier
  • Translator
  • Freelancer
  • Flight Attendant
  • Pet Sitting
  • Babysitting
  • Cleaning

On these websites, you can see all available English speaking jobs in Germany:

  • EnglishJobs.de
  • ExpatJobseeker.de
  • The Local.de
  • ExpatJobseeker.de
  • Germany StartUp Jobs.com
  • Berlin Top Jobs.com

As a native English speaker, you for sure have an advantage, but be aware that there are millions of foreigners who 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.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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