This guide will help 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?

  • - Job search engine. Lets you set job alerts
  • Glassdoor - Company reviews, salary reports and job listings
  • LinkedIn - Popular networking website with a large jobs section
  • Talent Berlin - Job board run by the city of Berlin
  • Jobs in Berlin - ArbeitNow
  • Xing - Similar to LinkedIn. Popular in Germany.
  • Craigslist - Mostly low-paying gigs and scams. Not used in Germany.
  • Jobted - Job listing website

English-speaking jobs in Berlin

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. You can try startups and companies with English-speaking offices, but most jobs require German. You compete with people who speak English and German. If you apply for medical or engineering positions, check if your qualifications are 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 people who speak English and German. If you are not a EU 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 almost impossible1, 2, 3, 4. Check ELTABB, the local English teachers' association. Their website has a job board. You can also teach English online.

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 different 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.
  • Blue Card - How to apply
    For university graduates. It's a little better than the work visa, because it lets you get your permanent residence faster. 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.
  • 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. You can't start working 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 can work.

Salaries in Berlin

If you are moving to Berlin, you must know how much you should earn. This helps you negotiate a better salary.

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. This is the money you keep every month.

Berlin salaries are lower than the German average1, but the cost of living is also lower.

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, a part of your salary goes to health insurance, pension contributions and taxes. The total amount you earn is your Brutto income. Taxes and insurance contributions come directly from your paycheck. The amount you keep after taxes is the Netto income.

This is what is taken from your paycheck:

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 often talk about their monthly salary, instead of their yearly salary.

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.

Related guide: How to choose German health insurance

Useful links:

When you start working

Things your employer needs

During your first month, your employer will ask for 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. 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 post. 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 two week notice1, 2. They don't need to give a reason. You can also quit with a two 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. 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 week20 days per year
6 days per week24 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: