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Working in Berlin

Find out How to Get a Job and Work in Berlin

Working in Berlin could allow you to learn from some of the most talented and creative people in the world, whether you meet them in your team at work, at co-working spaces, or in business deals. Berlin is one of the most attractive cities to work in, so you can expect strong competition for the top jobs. However, there is a major demand for talent in areas such as IT and healthcare.

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Finding a job in Berlin could take patience. You are likely to find opportunities that match your goals and skills, yet you do need to take the competition into consideration as well. Moreover, Berlin’s businesses are evolving and each of them requires employees with different profiles, even in the same industry. Much of the job search could be about figuring out what sort of job descriptions you are suited for and being patient until the right opportunity comes along.

Most workers in Berlin are employed in the services sector. However, if you do not speak German, Berlin’s start-up scene might be the best place to look for your first job in the capital city. There are many international-thinking companies in Berlin who need employees who speak foreign languages, so knowing German is not essential, however, it helps.

Job Market Overview

One of the things to know about working in Berlin is that the manufacturing industry is represented by 700 companies and employs more than 100,000 workers. Still, the job market overview shows that most workers in the German capital—about 80%—work in the services sector, while approximately 10% work in industry and construction.

Berlin is an eclectic city with job opportunities for all sorts of people with a range of skills. There are approximately 179,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the city, and over 600 firms with more than 250 employees (figures from Statistisches Bundesamt, 2018). Overall, Berlin has more companies for its size than other city in Germany.

In addition, since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the services sector has grown, while industry and construction have shrunk. You will find a healthy science and research sector too. Other job opportunities lie in fields, such as media, fashion, music, IT, healthcare, biotechnology, and the optical industry. Deutsche Bahn, Daimler, Pfizer, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Sony, and Vattenfall have all set up headquarters in the capital city.

The Top 10 Companies in Berlin

  1. Deutsche Bahn (transport)
  2. Charité (health)
  3. Vivantes (health)
  4. Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (traffic)
  5. Siemens (technology)
  6. Deutsche Post DHL (logistics)
  7. Daimler AG (automobile)
  8. Deutsche Telekom (telecommunications)
  9. Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (health)
  10. Zalando (E-commerce)

The Most Required Jobs

If you have skills in the following fields, there is a good chance you will find job opportunities to suit you in Berlin:

  • Information technology
  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Digital design
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Office operations
  • Recruiting

Skills in Demand in Berlin

Health

In Berlin, there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, so qualifications in this area could be your key to a great job. This goes for doctors, health workers, and care workers. Berlin needs around 5,000 more doctors, plus assistants to help with care for the elderly.

Engineering

A study conducted by VDE (Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik und Informationstechnik), a technical and scientific association, highlighted the need for more engineers in Berlin and other cities around Germany. They calculated that by 2026, 100,000 more electrical engineering and information technology engineers would be required to work in Germany to avoid a major skills gap.

Berlin’s many SMEs in engineering are being forced to look abroad for talent to fill these positions.

Information Technology

Skills in IT are in high demand in Berlin and the trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Here are some specific skills which could help you get the role of your dreams:

  • Machine learning engineering
  • DevOps
  • Testing and quality assurance
  • Data science
  • Mobile app development
  • Web development
  • Infrastructure services
  • UX programming
  • Graphic design

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Average Salary

The median average salary in Berlin is about 1,750 EUR (1,930 USD) per month after tax. Most people (291,000) working in Berlin earn between 1,500 and 1,999 EUR (1,650 and 2,200 USD) a month in net income, while 193,500 people earn between 2,000 and 2,599 EUR (2,200 and 2,860 USD), according to Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (Office of Statistics Berlin-Brandenburg). In Berlin’s start ups, average salaries are much higher, at 3,333 for men and 2,500 for women.

Please see the list below for an idea of the average annual salaries on offer for popular jobs in Berlin.

Popular Job Salaries
  • Managing Director: 130,000 EUR (143,000 USD)
  • IT Manager: 89,000 EUR (102,000 USD)
  • Head of Sales: 85,000 EUR (93,600 USD)
  • Human Resources Head: 58,500 EUR (72,800 USD)
  • Marketing Manager: 57,000 EUR (71,000 USD)
  • Software Developer: 56,000 EUR (68,000 USD)
  • Business Development Head: 55,700 EUR (70,000 USD)
  • Software Engineer: 53,000 EUR (67,600 USD)
  • Project Manager: 53,000 EUR (67,600 USD)
  • Electrician: 44,800 EUR (54,000 USD)
  • Web Developer: 40,000 EUR (44,000 USD)
  • Architect: 33,100 EUR (40,800 USD)

What is a Good Salary in Berlin?

What a good salary is depends on your needs and expectations but if you are simply aiming for a comfortable way of life in Berlin, 60,000 EUR (66,000 USD) per year before tax should be enough.

Annual Design and Creative Salaries

  • Executive Creative Director Digital: 100,000 EUR (110,000 USD)
  • UX Director: 95,000 EUR (104,000 USD)
  • Creative Director Digital: 80,000 EUR (88,100 USD)
  • Brand Design Director: 80,000 EUR (88,100 USD)
  • Creative Director Integrated: 75,000 EUR (82,600 USD)
  • Senior Product Designer: 75,000 EUR (82,600 USD)
  • Senior UX Designer: 72,000 EUR (79,300 USD)
  • Senior Art Director: 70,000 EUR (77,000 USD)
  • Senior UI Designer: 67,000 EUR (73,800 USD)
  • Senior Copywriter: 65,000 EUR (71,600 USD)
  • Senior Brand Designer: 65,000 EUR (71,600 USD)
Annual Technology Salaries

Techopedia, an online resource of information on everything IT, ranked Berlin as the best city in the world to work in tech. It ranked cities on the quality of the job market, average salaries, cost of living, commute time, and healthcare. Austin in the United States and Toronto in Canada were second and third respectively.

Tech Job Salaries
  • Head of Development: 110,000 EUR (121,000 USD)
  • Technical Director: 100,000 EUR (110,000 USD)
  • Java Technical Architect: 85,000 EUR (93,600 USD)
  • Technical Lead: 80,000 EUR (88,100 USD)
  • Senior Java Developer: 75,000 EUR (82,600 USD)
  • Senior Back End Developer: 70,000 EUR (77,000 USD)
  • Senior Front End Developer: 70,000 EUR (77,000 USD)
  • Technical Project Manager 65,000 EUR (71,600 USD)
  • Java Developer 60,000 EUR (66,000 USD)
  • Midweight Front End Developer 60,000 EUR (66,000 USD)

How to Get a Job

If you are thinking about how to get a job in Berlin, you are especially lucky if you are looking for something in one of the above-mentioned in-demand jobs. However, know that if you do not speak fluent German, finding a job will be more difficult. And while there are more English-speaking jobs in Berlin than any other German city, the difference is marginal. Only about 4.5% of advertised jobs request a person who speaks only English, compared with about 3.5% in the rest of Germany. So, any rare or in-demand skills or experience could give you the extra appeal you need to get the job you want.

Also, be aware that your education is important when it comes to securing an English-speaking role in Berlin. Around 48% of jobs require a bachelor’s degree, 32% require a master’s degree, and 13% require a PhD.

Consider the following steps to get a job in Berlin.

  1. Get a visa/residence permit so you can work if you are not an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen. You can submit your application at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin or your nearest German consulate.
  2. Search for jobs online with Xing, Stepstone, Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, and Berlin Startup Jobs.
  3. Attend InterNations’ expat events in your city. There you could meet international professionals who can help you with your Berlin job search. Don’t be shy to ask their tips and advice on how to navigate Berlin’s job market.
  4. Find a recruitment agency to help you with their expertise of jobs in the city, like Stuwex, Job Point, S&W, and AZ Personalkonzepte.
  5. If you speak German, it might be helpful to have a CV in both your English and German. However, make sure the German is perfect.
  6. Note that cover letters are very important and might make a bigger impression than your CV.

If you have found a job in Berlin, well done! Now, we can help you move there.

Entrepreneurship

Berlin is amongst the best cities for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Remember, just like you, there are many global-minded and talented people moving to the German capital, which means there is a regular supply of potential employees and co-founders.

Berlin has generally good working conditions, relatively low living costs, and an average commute time of approximately 23 minutes, lower than many other major cities.

Popular Co-Working Spaces in Berlin

With hundreds of small and medium enterprises and many start-ups in Berlin, co-working spaces provide a short-term, low-commitment base to work from, before you potentially grow your team, find a permanent headquarters, or move to a different city or country.

These are some of the best co-working spaces in Berlin:

  • Kaos, Oberschöneweide: if you see yourself as unique and creative, this space could be perfect for you and your team. It is an open industrial building with high ceilings, near the River Spree, and you could be working alongside designers, crafters, filmmakers, and more. You can even have an after-work drink on a deck by the water. It is 125 EUR (137 USD) per month for a flexidesk and 280 EUR (308 USD) per month for a fixed desk.
  • Fritz46, Mitte: if you live near Moabit, in Mitte, this retro space could be ideal for you. It takes its style from the building’s 1970s past. Plus, there is fast VDSL internet and you can purchase a coffee package to help you keep working. It is 140 EUR (154 USD) per month for a flexidesk and 180 EUR (200 USD) per month for a fixed desk.
  • BETT, Schöneweide: if you feel like working in a youthful crowd, BETT could be for you. It is a multifunctional space, also with a café and events, and a coworking space which was started by a group of students. A flex desk is 120 EUR (132 USD) per month while a fixed desk is 150 EUR (165 USD) per month. You can also get a two-person fixed desk for 270 EUR (300 USD) per month.
  • St Oberholz, Mitte: found on the top floor of a coffee house in Rosenthaler Platz, and with a more recent coworking venture in Zehdenicker, the spaces have high ceilings and parquet floors. Here, you can get a day ticket for 15 EUR (16.50 USD), four hours for 4 EUR (4.40 USD), and a basic membership for 99 EUR (109 USD).
  • Techspace, Kreuzberg: here, you can find a home for your whole team. This refurbished industrial building has lots of natural light, high ceilings, a private courtyard, and a balcony. A private room for 16 people will cost you 6,864 EUR (7,560 USD) per month before VAT. An 80-person “enterprise space” costs 35,920 EUR (39,565 USD) per month.

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Updated on: November 05, 2019
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