I have been asked this question several times, ‘do students find a job in Germany after finishing masters in Germany?’. I wish the answer was as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Here is my honest opinion on finding a job in Germany after finishing university in Germany.
Full disclosure: I’m neither a consultant nor work for any consultancy. I have no stakes involved in encouraging or discouraging you to come to Germany. The thing mentioned below are my own experiences or of those whom I know very well.
Mechanical and Electrical engineering students doing their masters in Germany, find a job easily.
This is untrue for several general reasons which we will discuss later on. Secondly, as it stands today, IT related jobs are easiest to find in Germany. The main reason being, IT jobs have much lower language requirements than those in mechanical and electrical fields.
Now, that we are clear on that let’s move on to how difficult is it to find a job in Germany.
Debugging Make it in Germany
If you are planning to come to Germany. You probably have heard that Germany is short on skilled labor. In fact, Germany has relaxed visa restrictions for those in a STEM field to make immigration easier. It gets much easier for those who have studied at a university in Germany.
BUT! Don’t mistake the relaxed Visa requirements means companies would hand over jobs to anyone who has studied at a university in Germany.
Employment lawyer Franziska Voltolini from Berlin legal firm Mayr told The Local: “The bureaucratic hurdles for employers are a little higher than in the United States or Britain. But it is a myth that it is almost impossible to be fired [in Germany].”
As stated, after the probation period it is little difficult for employers to fire an employee in Germany. Thus employers usually take a lot of caution while hiring an employee.
Hiring an immigrant makes them all the more skeptical. Corporates have enough resources to hire and sack an employee. SMEs do not have that freedom. Thus you’ll always hear people complaining that the SMEs do not hire foreign nationals. Secondly, no matter what the law states. As a person, the first preference would always be given to a German national. You need to out-qualify by something substantial to find a ‘good’ job in Germany.
It’s more efficient and easy for the government to send a foreigner home than to keep paying the German citizen unemployment funds.
The Inside Truth
Let me be clear here, I’m not an expert. But since I’m a part of a startup and have witnessed hiring and firing of people in my workplace. Here is what I’ve seen.
- Though there is a cry for a shortage of labor. The shortage is in ‘highly skilled’ labor.
- What companies won’t tell you is they receive dozen to hundreds of resumes for a given job.
- SMEs are very tight on budget, so even if they say they are looking for one skill, having broader skill set catches their attention.
- A person who has experience working in the industry and been living in Germany gets a higher preference. Since they are familiar to work culture here.
- Language can be a major criteria based on job requirements.
- The time you stuck with your employers before is key. I have seen two resumes being rejected because the applicant switched jobs (full time) twice in last one year.
Finding a job in Germany
How do you become more employable in Germany while you are studying? Again I’m not an expert, however here is my opinion from experience.
- Work part-time while you are doing your masters in Germany. You get a first-hand experience into German work culture. In future, this would add weight and give your future employer confidence to hire you.
- Part-time jobs in Germany for International Students
- Try to find a part-time job with possible future full-time employment. Difficult but SMEs prefer that.
- What you’ve done matters more than your grades. So get some hands-on experience and do mention about it.
- Stand out. Don’t stick yourself to one skill set. Expand your horizon. This would give you an edge over others. For example, because you are a programmer doesn’t mean you can’t do graphics design.
- Improve your German language skills.
- Build a network. This is probably the most important point of all. Let your friends know that you are looking for a job.
- Ramp-up your Linked in profile.
- Be patient. It might take one application, it might take 100 applications. The key is to be patient.