In the counselling session, we have found that most of the youth have the interest to go to Germany for different purposes, study, visit and work. Considering all of them, we would like to give an overview of Germany which helps them to plan accordingly before they land.
Germany has 82 million inhabitants, 17 million of them have a migration background. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, a total of 43.5 millions of people were employed in 2016. The unemployment rate by the end of 2016 was 5.8 %. The unemployment rate for employees under the age of 20 years was 3.7 %. Compared to other European countries (see European Commission’s Eurostat website http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/main/home) the youth unemployment rate is the lowest in the EU. The biggest companies in Germany in 2015 include the vehicle manufacturers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, and the energy company Eon.
Germany is listed as the largest economy in the European Union (EU) and the fourth largest national economy worldwide after the USA, China and Japan. Germany has a strong focus on exports and is ranked as the top listed country in terms of foreign trade, before China and US. The car industry, mechanical and plant engineering, chemical industry and medical technology are high selling sectors. More than 90 % of German companies are small or medium-sized, which contributes two-thirds of all jobs and more than half of Germany’s economic output. Innovation and investments in research and development make Germany a strong competitive economic power.
Living in Germany
Cost of living: broadly comparable to other countries in Western Europe. You’ll find useful information about life in Austria at Vienna Expats, as well as EURES – European Job Mobility Portal in its ‘living and working conditions’ section. https://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?acro=living&lang=en&parentId=0&countryId=AT
- Internet domain: .de
- Currency: Euro (€)
- The German social and health security system include five parts: sickness insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance and unemployment insurance.
- Health: In Germany, a health insurance is a legal requirement.
- Type of government: The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary democracy.
- Religion: Roman Catholic (30 %), Evangelical Church in Germany (29 %), Muslim (almost 5 %), other (almost 3 %), without confession (33 %)
- Average living costs: Accommodation is the major part of your monthly expenses. Rent prices vary from region to region. Rents in cities are higher such as Munich, Cologne, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. In the eastern federal states and in some rural areas the expenses for accommodation are cheaper. Compared to other EU states costs for food are slightly cheaper, but costs for local public transport, electricity and going out are high. But prices vary depending on the area where you live.
General Education in Germany
State schools are free of charge in Germany. Parents have to pay for schoolbooks, additional teaching material and class excursions and trips.Primary school (Grundschule) starts with the age of six and takes 4 years. After Grundschule have to choose between Hauptschule (secondary lower school, grades 5-9), Realschule (intermediate school, grades 5-10) or Gymnasium (grammar school) depending on the grades and the abilities of the student. Gymnasium ends with the diploma called Abitur (advanced certificate of education), which is given at the end of Year 12 or 13 and gives a right of access to college and university-level courses.
The Gesamtschule(comprehensive school) is a special form of school, which offers several types of school under one roof from Year 5. Gesamtschule is only found in some of the states. It takes the place of both the Hauptschule and Realschule.Initial vocation training starts at the end of compulsory schooling from the age of 15. It combines part-time academic study and apprenticeship in businesses which offer training within the ‘dual system’. Training takes between two and three and a half years. The apprenticeship program leads to a certificate in a particular field of work. Young people can choose from among around 340 recognised apprenticeship trades.Every student in Germany has to complete at least nine years of education. A student dropping out of Gymnasium, for example, must enroll in a Realschule or Hauptschule until nine years have been completed. Students have to study at minimum one foreign language for at least five years. A second foreign language is required in Gymnasium.
Job opportunities in Germany
Germany requires skilled workers in a number of industries. Most of the demanded professions are doctors, engineers, scientists, IT specialists and professions with vocational qualifications.
The Federal Employment Agency also listed demanded professions in Germany:
What is it like working in Germany?
Average working hours: the working week varies between 38 and 40 hours, normally working hours should not exceed 8 hours per day. However, in some sectors or job positions overtime is common.
Holidays: employees are entitled to 24 working days per year.
Tax rates: If you are liable for tax in Germany, your employer will deduct the tax and contributions from your monthly salary and pay them directly to the State. The rate of taxation depends on how much you earn and other circumstances.
More information can be found here:
EURES – The European Job Mobility Portal (here you will find very useful information about the labour market, living and working conditions, job vacancies, etc.) https://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?countryId=AT&acro=lw&lang=en&parentId=0&catId=0®ionIdForAdvisor=®ionIdForSE=®ionString=AT0|%20:
Federal Employment Agency https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/en
List of the Federal Employment Agency of demanded skilled workers –
Information for job and apprenticeship seekers: http://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de/vamJB/startseite.html?kgr=as&aa=1&m=1&vorschlagsfunktionaktiv=true
Federal Ministry of Finance http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Web/EN/Home/home.html
Migration Support Centerhttp://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en
Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)
Statistical office of the European Union – http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/main/home
Alumni Association https://www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/
List of Higher Education Institutions https://www.hochschulkompass.de/en.html