Whether you’re bilingual in German, are considering learning German, or fall somewhere in between, know that German is among the most worthwhile of the world’s languages. Speaking German grants access to a wealth of dynamic German or bilingual jobs in a variety of sectors. As of 2015, over 15.4 million people were learning German worldwide, according to the Goethe Institute’s Deutsch als Fremdsprache 2015 (German as a foreign language) worldwide survey. After fifteen years of decline, German learning is on the rise again. Of all countries studied, emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India show the greatest increase of inhabitants learning German. For motivation to follow suit and gain access to all that German can offer in terms of employment, enjoy the following recap of thriving German industries and avenues to access them. From bilingual jobs with German companies in the US, to opportunities to travel to Germany for work or study. If you want to learn German skills, processes and business culture, there are plenty of ways to travel and improve or apply your German.
The crucial role that Germany plays in the European and global economies is undeniable. At $3.3 trillion, Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world and the largest in Europe. Touting one of the highest per capita global incomes (and a minimum of 6 weeks vacation time), you’ll find Germans citizens traveling throughout the globe. With those facts in mind, it’s natural to wonder about German products and specialties. You might even consider participating in one of its thriving industries.
Germany is renowned for innovation and engineering, and its investments in research and development are surpassed only by Japan and South Korea. Perhaps the most well-known sector of the German economy is the automotive industry. Manufacturing mid-range and luxury cars of superior quality is one of Germany’s fortes, including the brands BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Opel. In addition to automobiles, the electrical and electronic engineering industries produce high-tech goods and appliances like those manufactured by the multinational engineering and electronics company Bosch. Likewise, Siemens is the largest manufacturing and electronics conglomerate in Europe. True to Germany’s long history of scientific prowess, the largest and one of the oldest chemical companies in the world, BASF, is headquartered in Ludwigshafen. BASF is active globally with service in 190 countries. Germany touches more of the world’s goods than any of its neighbors in the European Union, and many Germans are employed moving goods in the logistics industry. Considering its production of high-priced exports, it’s no wonder Germany’s economy flourishes and developing markets clamor to learn German.
While the industries that Germany excels in are quite technical, don’t let that intimidate your language-learning efforts. Not every position requires fluency, and many just require basic German. In fact, English-speakers can seek positions at one of the 1100 divisions of German companies in the US, including subsidiaries of some of those listed above. According to the 2017 German American Business Outlook Assessment conducted yearly by the German American Chambers of commerce, 99% of German companies plan to continue allocating strategic attention to their US divisions, and many plan on increasing their focus on the US. Similarly, 98% of respondents forecasted continued success in American business. Of the German companies questioned, 85% expected to take on new employees. However, hiring efforts are complicated by the fact that 69% of the companies have trouble finding skilled labor. According to the German American Business Outlook’s Annual Survey of Firms in the US for 2017:
“German companies advocate for a continuous investment in the optimization of apprenticeship infrastructure in the US in the coming years. German and US companies alike are willing to engage and invest in sustainable programs that are suited to train workers according to the reality in the company or on the shop floor.”
Germany’s investment in apprenticeship infrastructure should serve as motivation to pursue employment in these sectors–or even convince you to add proficient German to your resume, or learn to converse (better) with future German colleagues.
On the other hand, if already planning to join the German workforce and get a true taste of German business culture, or if you’re seeking to improve or learn the language while immersed, embarking on a stay or new life in Germany has never been easier. The European Blue Card program enabled easier access for non-Europeans to obtain work permits in 2012. As of 2017, an applicant must have a job offer with a minimum salary of EUR 50,800 in order to apply for a Blue Card in Germany. This required salary is lower for positions with a shortage of workers: currently, Germany is in need of several types of engineers and IT specialists. Those qualified in the fields of healthcare, human services and manufacturing positions are also in short supply. Teaching English is another viable option.
For those not yet in the workforce or those who prefer to study again, traveling to Germany to study is an enticing option. For fellow Europeans, the ERASMUS programs facilitate studying in Germany. Those outside of Europe can enroll in a German language school like the Goethe Institut or Berlitz, or locate one of the many programs that begin in English and transition to German. International degree programs that don’t require knowledge of German are also available. Once you study, extending your stay to begin working isn’t difficult.
CORE Languages is certain that German is a language of the future that will make you a more competitive candidate at home or abroad. Whatever the case may be, we wish you viel Glück with learning German and on the path to German or bilingual jobs!