This guide helps you find a job in Berlin, even if you don't speak German.

If you want to become a freelancer and start a business in Germany, read this guide instead.

Where to find jobs?

These are the websites I would use to search for work in Berlin. There are many more options, but those are more popular.

English-speaking jobs in Berlin

How to find an English-speaking job in Berlin ➞

These websites only have English-speaking jobs, or let you filter by language:

Tech jobs in Berlin

Creative jobs: media, communications, design

Startup jobs

Internships, temp work and minijobs

Freelance work

Restaurant jobs

Is it hard to find a job in Berlin?

If you work in tech, and you don't speak German, it is very easy1, 2. There are many English-speaking tech companies in Berlin. English is the main language in many tech offices. There is a lot of demand for software developers and IT workers.

If you are a skilled worker, and you don't speak German, it can be hard1, 2. Most jobs require German, but there are hundreds of businesses that hire English-speaking employees in Berlin. If you apply for medical or engineering positions, check if your education is recognized in Germany.

If you are not a skilled worker, and you don't speak German, it can be really hard1. There are not many options, and there is a lot of competition. You compete with other people who speak English and German. If you are not a EU or EEA citizen, it's hard to get a residence permit for unskilled work. You could still get a Working Holiday Visa, or a Youth Mobility Visa.

If you want to teach English in Berlin, it is very hard. If you are not certified, and don't speak German, it's very hard1, 2, 3, 4. The local English teachers' association (ELTABB) has more resources. You can also teach English online, but if you are self-employed, you might need to register as a freelancer.

If you speak German, it's easier. Most job offers are for German speakers. You should learn German.

Related guides:

Visa requirements

If you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can live and work in Germany without a residence permit. You can just move to Berlin, find a job and start working. You will still need to register your address, get a tax ID, and get German health insurance.

If you are not a citizen of those countries, you need a residence permit to work in Germany. You might also need a job seeker visa to visit Germany and find a job.

Many types of residence permits let you work in Germany:

  • Work visa - How to apply
    For skilled workers. You must have a job offer from a German company before you apply for the visa.
  • Blue Card - How to apply
    For university graduates. It's like a work visa, but better. Usually, your employer must be in Germany. There is a minimum income requirement for this visa.
  • Working Holiday Visa
    For citizens of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and Uruguay. You must be between 18 and 30 years old. It's easier to get than the work visa or Blue Card.
  • Youth Mobility Visa
    For Canadian citizens between 18 and 35 years old. This residence permit lets you work and travel in Germany for up to 1 year. It's easier to get than the work visa or Blue Card.
  • Student visa
    You can work up to 120 days per year (or 240 half-days per year) while you study1. You can work more if the job is part of your studies1.
  • Au pair visa
    This residence permit lets you work as an au pair in Germany. You must have an au pair contract before you apply for the visa.
  • Internship visa
    For university students1. This residence permit lets you do an internship in Germany. It's valid for 6 to 12 months1. More information here.
  • Family reunion visa
    For spouses and family members of German residents. This residence permit lets you work in Germany.
  • Permanent residency
    If you have permanent residence in Germany, you can work in Germany. You don't need any permission. You can also work for companies outside of Germany.

Getting a residence permit takes around 2 months, sometimes longer. You can't work before you get your residence permit. Most employers know this, and they will wait for you. Some employers will hire a relocation consultant to help you. If you apply for your residence permit in Germany, you need enough your savings to wait until you start working.

Salaries in Berlin

When move to Berlin, you must know what salary to ask for. It helps you negotiate a better salary. These websites can help:

When you negotiate your salary, you negotiate your Brutto salary. This is your income before health insurance, pension contributions and taxes. Your Netto salary is lower. It's the money you keep every month. On average, your Netto salary is around 65% of your Brutto salary1.

Income tax calculator ➞

Median income

The median income in Germany is 41124€ per year1. The median income in Berlin is 41808€ per year1, 2. Berlin salaries are lower than in other German cities1, but the cost of living is also lower.

Cost of living in Berlin ➞

Median income by profession (German) - Federal Employment Office

Median income by location (German) - Federal Employment Office

Minimum wage

The minimum wage (Mindestlohn) in Germany is 9.82€ per hour. It will be 10.45€ per hour in July 20221. Some professions have a higher minimum wage (Branchenmindestlohn).

Around 4% of jobs pay the minimum wage1.

Relocation bonus

Some companies offer a relocation bonus. This helps you pay for your relocation costs. You can also negotiate this amount. Sometimes, it's a fixed amount, and sometimes they refund your real costs. Sometimes, you get your relocation bonus with your paycheck, 30 to 45 days after you start working. You will pay income tax on your relocation bonus.

When do I get paid?

In Germany, most people are paid once per month, usually on the 1st or 15th day of the month. You get your first paycheck after 30 or 45 days after you start working. If you are just moving to Germany, you need enough savings to survive the first 6 weeks.

Almost everyone is paid by bank transfer. If you start working in Germany, you need a bank account that supports SEPA transfers. The bank can be in another European country.

Taxes and insurance in Germany

Taxes and deductions

In Germany, around 35% of your salary pays for your health insurance, pension contributions and taxes1. The total amount you earn is your Brutto income. The amount you keep is your Netto income. Taxes and insurance contributions come directly from your paycheck.

Those are the taxes and contributions you pay:

The amount of taxes you pay depends on your tax class, the number of children you have, and the type of health insurance you have. To calculate your Netto income, use this tax calculator. This calculator shows how much money you keep every month. In Germany, people sometimes mention their monthly income instead of their yearly income.

If you need help with taxes in Germany, ask a tax advisor. German tax software can also help you file your taxes. Taxfix and SteuerGo are available in English.

Useful links:

Health insurance

In Germany, you must have health insurance. Your employer pays half of it. You pay the other half. Your employer does not choose your health insurance. Your health insurance is not tied to your employer. If you lose your job, you do not lose your health insurance.

How to choose German health insurance ➞

When you start working

Things your employer needs

During your first month at a new company, your employer needs a few things:

  • A bank account
    Your employer will pay you by bank transfer. For this, you need a bank account that supports SEPA transfers. Any European bank account will work.
  • Your tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer)
    You get a tax ID when you register your address for the first time. You get it by mail 1-2 weeks after you register. If you want it faster, you can go to your local Finanzamt after you register. If you can't get a tax ID, you can still work, but you will pay the maximum income tax rate. You will get that money back with your tax declaration. How do I get a tax ID?
  • Your health insurance number (Krankenversicherungsnummer)
    If you live in Germany, you must have health insurance. 2 to 7 days after you get health insurance, you get a Krankenversicherungsnummer. Your employer needs this number to take health insurance payments from your salary.
  • Your social insurance number (Sozialversicherungsnummer)
    If you have public health insurance, you get this number automatically in the mail. If you have private health insurance, you must apply for it. Your employer can sometimes help you with this. More information here.

The probation period

During your first 6 months at a new company, you are in your probation period (Probezeit)1. During that time, your employer can fire you with a 2 week notice1, 2. They don't need to give a reason. You can also quit with a 2 week notice. Some employers have shorter probation periods, or no probation period at all.

It's harder to get a loan or find an apartment during your probation period, because you can easily lose your job1, 2.

You can take vacations during your probation period1. Your vacation days are prorated1. This means that you unlock 1/12 of your vacation days every month1, 2. For example, if you have 24 vacation days per year, and you have been working for 3 months, you can use 6 vacation days. After 4 months, you can use 8 vacation days.

You can take as many sick days as you need during your probation period1.

After your probation period, it's harder to get fired, and it's harder to quit your job. If your employer fires you, they must tell you 4 weeks in advance. If you want to quit your job, you must also tell your employer 4 weeks in advance. The longer you work at a company, the longer the notice period1. After 5 years with a company, the notice period is 2 months. After 8 years, it's 3 months. Some companies have longer notice periods in their contracts1. 3 month notice periods are common, and some have a 6 month notice period1. Your notice period (when you quit) can't be longer than the notice period of your employer (when they fire you)1.

After your probation period, you can use all your vacation days for the year1, 2.

Vacation days

In Germany, if you work 5 days per week, you get a minimum of 20 paid vacation days per year1, 2. Many employees get 30 vacation days per year.

Work daysMinimum vacation days
1 day per week4 days per year
2 days per week8 days per year
3 days per week12 days per year
4 days per week16 days per year
5 days per week
20 days per year
6 days per week
24 days per year

German resumes

Germans use Curriculum Vitae, not resumes1. German CVs are longer than American resumes. They often include your date of birth, your citizenship and a photo of you1.

Useful links: