international Talent Berlin

Why international talents are attracted to Berlin

If you’re looking to work in Germany’s capital, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for experts and young professionals to work in tech, services, creative industries an many more fields. The many startups, medium-sized businesses and of course some big players are always looking for talent! The superior availability of trained specialists and managers compared to other German cities, is also one of the most important factors for companies choosing to settle in Berlin.

With an urban area of around 892 km² and 3.7 million inhabitants, the capital offers space for every lifestyle, age, and type of family. The city’s unique leisure, cultural, and educational offerings provide residents with many opportunities for personal development and individual living. People from over 170 nations shape the lively atmosphere of this global destination. 

A hub for young, international creatives

Berlin attracts many talented people from around the world. More than 80,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 relocate to the German capital every year, with the average age of the city being only 42.7 years. Since 2016, the city has grown by 30 - 40,000 inhabitants per year and currently has 3.74 million inhabitants, of whom almost 23,000 are US citizens - the 8th largest migrant group in Berlin. Of the new residents, almost 60% come from abroad. 

Working in Berlin: International talents are attracted to Berlin

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With more than 40 universities and more than 70 non-university research institutions, Berlin offers the densest university and institute-based research base in Germany - an excellent basis for interdisciplinary work, cooperation in R&D, and for recruiting staff. A good 20% of the more than 190,000 students come from abroad.

Top global destination for talent

According to BCG’s 2019 Decoding Digital Talent report, Berlin is the 3rd most attractive global destination for talent with digital expertise due to work-life balance and the opportunity to learn and train; aspects of work that digital experts value most. With over 360,000 respondents across 197 countries, their 2018 Decoding Global Talent report was the biggest gathering of insights on global talent mobility trends and employment preferences ever done. Before Brexit, the UK was the top European destination for foreigners. Germany has replaced it and is now the second-most-popular work destination overall.

Berlin is also home to the happiest workers in Germany according to a 2019 survey from Kununu’s Happiness Index employer rating.

young professionals in Berlin
flexible working places and hours are more and more important to young people © fotografixx -

Businesses are looking for talent

These days Berlin is shining brighter than many other metropolises when it comes to being the right environment to start or expand a business, with companies finding strong workforces to build new products and investors enjoying strong exits for the companies that they back.

Whether you are fresh in your field or an experienced professional, Berlin's five big industry clusters  - ICT (information and communications technology), Energy Technology, Health Care, Transport/Mobility/Logistics, and Photonics - offer ample opportunity to advance. In addition, many new jobs are created every year in the Retail, Hotel, and Catering sectors. 

Berlin’s employee numbers have risen to 1.47 million in recent years - with growth of at least 3.3 % per year in each of the last five years. 

Check out the job vacancies published online through Talent Berlin’s job portal as, recently, almost 15,000 job advertisements were posted. Of course, you can also have a look at the major online job websites such as Monster, StepStone, and Indeed.

Even though the city draws people from around the world and is full of international English speakers, it pays off if you learn to speak German - or even just make an effort to read and understand the basics. You will stand a better chance of employment and connect to the locals much quicker.

© CIEE Entrepreneur Lab

Registration and residence permits

Once you arrive in Berlin, no matter your country of origin, you need to register your address at the Bürgeramt within 14 days. This office will be an important place for you when living in Germany - much of the most important paperwork for your life here will be processed there. If you need a visa to live in Berlin, you will also need to get a residence permit from the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) once you are in Germany.

Most Berlin startups are very willing to consider overseas candidates. Most startups in Berlin use English as the daily working language, hire the best candidates and don’t discriminate based on location or if they need a work permit. If they hire someone from abroad or without a German residence or work permit, they will usually help a lot with the process of getting all the necessary paperwork. If you don’t have a job offer yet, there are of course other options.

Business Immigration Service

The Business Immigration Service is a source of assistance set up by the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) and Berlin Partner to help foreign companies, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers do business in Berlin. The BIS provides quick, sound advice on securing a Visa or Residency - also in English - and on the key issues for your relocation. Their fast communication provides feedback within 48 hours.

That way, foreign investors and startups, managers, skilled professionals, and their families can quickly and easily clarify any residency issues and can be put in touch directly with the person responsible for dealing with them.

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications

In Germany, a distinction is made between regulated and non-regulated professions. In the regulated professions, accreditation of your professional qualifications is mandatory in order for you to practice your profession or use a professional title. This applies to physicians, nurses, other medical personnel, lawyers and judges, teachers and educators, pre-school staff, engineers and other vocations. If you are moving to Berlin from abroad, find out in advance whether your profession is recognized in Germany or which German degree is equivalent to yours.

Looking for further info about application guidelines, work visa and services for new Berliners? Check out the Talent Berlin Website.

Finding the right network in Berlin
There are many possibilities to network in Berlin © Helena Lopes / Unsplash

Get your “Vitamin B”

As Berlin is a commercial hub and an attractive city for start-ups and creatives, there is a strong networking community.  The Germans even have an expression for it: they say a dose of Vitamin B (for Beziehung or ‘relationship’) can help get your foot inside the door. You will find hundreds of networking events, many of which are free to attend. We’ve also put together a list of helpful networking tips, that will get you in the mood.

If you haven’t already, you should also sign up to Xing, one of the most popular business networks in Germany, connect with people on LinkedIn - also a good source for jobs in Berlin - or find appropriate groups for you to join.

Ready to make Berlin your new home?

With integration taking place at full speed, there is a vibrant atmosphere and endless opportunity in Berlin. Relocation services like Berlin Partner and Talent Berlin will help you get set up and go through the formalities, so you can work here quickly and seamlessly. Once established, Berlin offers all you need to help your company progress to new heights or to see your career soar.

Text: Melissa Embury

Header image: Simon Maage / Unsplash

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