Working in Berlin?
Health Insurance and Expat Jobs in Berlin
Germany has an extensive social security system covering illness, unemployment, old age, industry accidents, and the need for long-term care. As soon as you begin working in Germany, your employer will take the necessary steps to register you for social security — you’ll only have to handle the choice of healthcare insurance provider yourself. Your employer is also responsible for calculating and paying your contributions every time your salary is paid.
Your contributions will be a fixed percentage of your income and are, with the exception of the occupational accident insurance (i.e. gesetzliche Unfallversicherung), split between yourself and your employer. The Unfallversicherung is covered in full by your employer. If, however, you are self-employed, you will pay the full contributions to all the different social security funds.
If you want to know more about the different types of German social security coverage and benefits , you can read our in-depth guide on social security in Germany.
The health insurance system in Germany is the world’s oldest universal healthcare system, dating back to 1883. There are two types of healthcare in Germany, the gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (public) and the private Krankenversicherung (private). All citizens and legal residents of Germany are entitled to healthcare. It has in fact become illegal not to be insured and it is thus a requirement when applying for a job.
All salaried workers in Germany whose gross monthly income is less than 4,687.50 EUR (as of 2016), have to be publicly insured. The percentage they owe to the state healthcare system is taken out of their monthly pay.
If you are self-employed, work as a German civil servant, or you have a job in Berlin that earns you more than 4,687.50 EUR monthly gross income, you can opt for private healthcare.
Tracking Down the Perfect Job
Finding a job in Berlin pretty much requires the same technique as in other cities around the world. Look at the website of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit for a list (in German) of job offices. Next to offering lists of vacancies, their employees may be able to help you improve your resume and tailor it to fit German standards. If you are interested in how an interview in Germany works, have a look at this overview of typical (and tricky!) questions and answers for job applicants (German only).
Looking in the classifieds section of newspapers, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine or the Handelsblatt, is usually also very helpful. Local Berlin newspapers also offer a number of job listings, as well as online job sites such as monster.de or JobBörse (both websites in German only) — the latter is the official job portal of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
Berlin also hosts many trade fairs. It would be wise to check out the career fairs where you can make connections with potential employers and pass out your resume.
The Economy and Job Market
While the economy of Berlin isn’t the strongest in the country, the city may still be a good place to find a job.
Berlin struggled in comparison to other German cities after the reunification of the country in 1990. The city had been governed under two different regimes following the Second World War, and the different sides of the city struggled to adjust economically for this reason. Other cities in the country have a specific market — i.e. finance in Frankfurt am Main — which is not the same in Berlin, meaning growth took longer. Indeed, the unemployment rate rose sharply after reunification and is still high at 10.7% compared to the national rate of 6.7% in 2016.
There is, however, a positive side of the coin, with quite a bit on offer in terms of careers in the city. The science and technology sector are particularly strong and the city has a good infrastructure. The tourism sector is also booming, as the city becomes ever more attractive among young people attracted by the hipster vibe and clubbing scene. Unfortunately, this upturn in the economy means that although you may find it easier to get a job in the city, rents may be higher than in the past.
Our expat guide provides further information on the world of Jobs and Business in Germany
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