Stuttgart at a Glance
Working in Stuttgart
Sometimes called the “cradle of the automobile”, Stuttgart is the birthplace of what is widely considered to be the first modern car: the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Today, both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have their headquarters in the region, as do many automotive parts manufacturers. Stuttgart has the highest standard of prosperity of any city in Germany, with a total GDP of over 34 billion EUR.
The region also has the highest density of scientific, academic, and research organizations of any area in Germany. A number of internationally operating companies are based in Stuttgart, with a daily investment of 13 million EUR in Research and Development, more than anywhere else in Germany.
For graduates and experienced workers with a degree in engineering, science, or in technology fields, the potential income and benefits of working in Stuttgart are considerable. In 2014, the average net income in Germany is 45,952 EUR but salaries considerably higher than that are common for engineers and management level positions. Positions in these sectors do not always require knowledge of German, although local language skills are always advantageous.
Job Hunting in Stuttgart
Before you start job hunting, take the time to have your professional qualifications translated by an accredited translator. The German system of vocational training means that almost every profession has a qualification, and it can be difficult to get a job without having served an apprenticeship (Ausbildung) or being able to show similar qualifications.
If you don’t speak German, then it may be easier to search via a private recruitment agency that specializes in your industry or management level. The traditional weekend classified ads supplements in the local newspapers are a good way of finding employment if you understand German. Online job search portals such as stepstone.de and monster.de are also becoming more popular.
Be aware of the differences in presenting your CV in Germany. If you send one in anything other than the traditional style, it may land straight in the recycling pile. German resumes are short and factual, and can, but don’t have to, feature a photograph. It is considered superfluous or even boastful to include personal qualities or interests, other than active membership of charities or similar organizations.
Income Taxation in Stuttgart
Pay as You Earn tax is called Lohnsteuer in Germany, and applies to all employed wage earners. It is automatically deducted from employees’ gross monthly income, along with social security contributions. At the time of writing in early 2015, the starting rate for the lowest taxable income of just over 8,000 EUR was 14%, rising progressively to a maximum of 45% on incomes above 250,000 EUR.
Tax rates in Germany are significantly lower for married or jointly assessed couples, so it is worth checking to see if you are able to make a joint application with your spouse. In case you are a EU resident, this applies whether the spouse accompanies you to Germany or not.
In addition to the basic tax-free allowance, a number of deductibles can be applied when you complete the yearly tax return. For expatriates who have other sources of income, or who are unfamiliar with the German taxation system, it can be advantageous to consult with a tax advisor, to minimize your tax dues.