Living and Working in Germany

Germany’s a great place to live and work, whether for a short period or for the longer term. A lot of people are interested in visiting or moving to Germany.

Factors such as a strong economy, good salaries, high standard of living and social benefits, a modern infrastructure and affordable, high quality housing, all play a role.

Germany has the biggest economy in the EU and that means a large number of employment opportunities.

However, the German way of doing business is more cautious than the UK or US. Things happen here more slowly. Employees change jobs less frequently than people do in the UK. Partly this is due to German employment legislation, which discourages “hire and fire” styles of recruitment as found in English speaking countries.

On the other hand, all this means that when you do find a job, it’s much more likely to be a secure one.

Most job opportunities are in the big cities and surrounding regions in Western Germany. The capital Berlin has relatively high unemployment rates and job openings are also fewer in the eastern cities.

Salaries tend to be similar to London’s, but in skilled professions can be higher. However, German tax rates are also higher than the UK’s. Compulsory health insurance is an additional cost you will have to factor in. State pension insurance deductions are also high.

But you can still enjoy a higher net disposable income than in the UK.

Living costs too tend to be lower: eating out is often cheaper than in Britain, transport is cheaper, and not least, rents are also lower. This latter point is one of the big pluses of Germany – the large supply of mostly modern, good quality housing at reasonable rents.

Another plus about living and working in Germany is the health care system. Health provision is of a higher standard than in the UK. However, this does not come cheap. Health insurance in Germany is expensive.

You might be surprised to discover that the German work culture is less inclined towards working long hours of overtime than in the UK. Holiday allowances are also more generous, with around 6 weeks vacation as standard.

On the other hand, Germans tend to start work very early. Even in offices people can be at their desks as early as 6 or 7am. But they often prefer to leave earlier in the afternoons.

Language is not so much of a problem. Most younger people in Germany speak reasonable or passable English. However, you’ll need to learn at least some German. You will find more employment opportunities open to you if you can demonstrate some ability in German. Speaking the language will also help you get the best out of the country.

Or course, it’s not all perfect in Germany. High levels of bureaucracy and inflexibility, career rigidity, high social insurance and taxes, a more abrupt manner and relatively poor levels of customer services are a few examples of the downsides to living in Germany.

But overall, the advantages far outweigh any disadvantages and English-speaking people tend to feel at home here. On the whole, Germany is a very good location to move to, whether you’re looking to emigrate longer term or just to spend time living and working for a while in another country of the EU.

I lived in Germany for many years and I have to say I’m glad I made the decision to move there. It’s been well worth it and I’d recommend Germany as a destination to anyone else thinking of living and working abroad. For more information and advice about living and working in Germany, visit http://AllAboutGermany.NET