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Munich - Job Market

Many international companies have one or several branches in Munich. These include IT companies such as: Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Objective, Infineon and IBM. The 'big' consulting companies like Accenture, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu and Ernst & Young also have offices here. The IT industry, which was booming just a few years ago, still has employment opportunities. These are mainly in the field of SAP, and generally require several years of experience. The special green card system for IT professionals wanting to work in Germany is still in place.

With these international companies you will often find that the official working language is English, but you will have a greater chance of finding employment if you can speak German.

There are large and small branches of companies in the finance and insurance sector. Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Hypo Vereins Bank and the numerous Sparkasse are the largest banking institutions. Allianz is the largest insurer, although there are many other companies.

Multi-faceted, multi-national companies such as EADS in the aerospace industry have large premises on the outskirts of Munich.

BMW constantly advertises vacant positions, but on the grapevine I have heard that they prefer to hire Germans, if not Bavarians, and based on empirical evidence of people I know who have applied for jobs there, this rumour is correct.

There is a big Roche plant in Penzberg which is constantly advertising for chemists and biologists to work in labs for health research. In fact, many pharmaceutical companies have their headquarters in German-speaking countries and want 'life scientists' with clinical research experience.

Siemens also has its headquarters in Munich, although lots of jobs are advertised in Erlangen, which is a town north east of Nuremburg, whose economy is singularly dependent on Siemens.

Munich also has many research facilities including branches of the Max Planck Institute, a number of universities, and the headquarters of the European Southern Observatories in Garching. The European Patent Office is constantly advertising for PhD-qualified people to become patent examiners, but you must be from a member state and able to speak English, French and German. Don't bother applying to the German Patent Office unless you speak flawless German and have your degree from a German university!

One place where non-native German speakers can get a toe-hold is in language teaching. The majority of language schools in Munich demand that the languages be taught by native speakers. Teaching experience, not necessarily language-related, is a bonus when applying for these jobs, but not a requirement. Many schools run (free) training courses for their prospective staff before officially hiring them. If your native language is in high demand, you may even be thrown straight in the deep end and into a class! The foreign language most in demand at the moment is English. French and Italian are also quite popular, although with the downturn in the economy people are cutting back on spending on language classes, as in every other area. If you are a native German speaker, then there will be lots of expat spouses to teach!

If you are a qualified doctor you may have to redo your entire medical training before being allowed to practise in Munich (this is the case for someone I know from India)! To have other qualifications officially recognised in Germany, they must be officially translated.

When applying for a job, it is the 'thickness' of the application that is most important. Do not just send your CV 'Lebenslauf' and a cover letter. Send a copy of every single certificate you've ever received since you graduated high school, including your high school diploma. German HR people don't believe you can do anything unless you have a poncy piece of paper saying that you can. Years of experience are no match for a dozen certificates of attendance at workplace courses (even if you slept through them!). So if you're in the process of cleaning things out before moving to Munich, make sure you hang on to all those 'useless' pieces of paper. They could really do you a favour!

For most jobs you will require very good German, if not native language ability. Do not get upset if people treat you rather rudely for your lack of linguistic ability. A friend who made one grammatical mistake in an otherwise flawless 20-minute interview was told that her bad German would give customers the wrong impression of the company! (And she had been living in Munich for four years, after studying German at university!)


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