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France or Germany: The best country to work in?

With a group of employees in northern France having been left outraged after being given an ultimatum to either relocate to Germany or lose their job, The Local looks at which country is the best place to work - France or Germany?

France or Germany: The best country to work in?
Paris or Berlin, France or Germany, where's the best place to work? Photo: Glenn Moran/Flickr Berlin photo: Shutterstock

Around 50 employees at a firm in northern France face a life-changing dilemma. Choose between staying where they live and losing their job, or keeping their salaries and moving to Germany.

Workers at Vitrine Magique , which sells garden and household accessories, have to decide between leaving their homes in and around Croix, on the outskirts of Lille and moving to Aachen, western Germany. 

Understandably most members of staff are not too happy about moving across the Rhine. But perhaps if they weighed up the pros and cons of the two countries, they might have a change of heart.

The Local has taken a look at how the two countries square up when it comes to all things job related.

Parental leave

(Photo: AFP)

France:

France recently introduced new rules around parental leave in a bid to boost equality, by encouraging fathers to take parental leave, as well as save millions of euros for the state (knowing that most fathers won’t take up the chance).

The current rules allow up to one year of parental leave, as long as it is split evenly between the mother and the father (six months each). If not then the mother is allowed up to a maximum of six months. For two or more children, the maximum is three years if the father takes one year. If not then the mother is limited to two years maximum. The state pays out €390 a month to parents on leave.

Mothers on maternity leave are entitled to 16 weeks on full pay – that normally covers six weeks before the birth and ten after.

Germany:

Both parents come under the same system of “elternzeit” (parental leave) so mothers and fathers can be confident their jobs are protected by the law for as long as they like until their child turns three.

When it comes to remuneration, Gemany is far more generous.

The benefit is calculated at 65 percent of the parent's previous monthly salary, though it gets boosted slightly if they were earning €1,000 or less. Those with more young children also get a ten-percent (or a minimum of €75 a month) “sibling bonus”.

The total benefits are ring-fenced at a minimum of €300 and maximum €1,800 per month, while parents who were unemployed can also claim at least the minimum €300 a month.

For maternity leave mothers are entitled to full pay during the six weeks before, and eight weeks after, the birth, known as “mother protection time”.

Retirement age

(Photo: Jazz Beaunola/Flickr)

France:

The French retirement age is set at 62 for both men and women although, after being elected in 2012, François Hollande introduced a swift reform that allowed those who entered the work place aged 18, to retire at the age of 60. 

Germany:

The age of retirement in Germany is in a bit of a state of flux in that it is currently in the process of being raised from 65 to 67 for both men and women.

However last year Germany was criticized “for sending out the wrong signal” to the rest of Europe, by lowering the retirement age to 63 for those who have been in the workplace for 45 years, or since the age of 18. A ‘Flexi-pension’ was also introduced for Germans wanting to extend their career past 63 years old. 

READ ALSO: Ten reasons why France is better than Germany

Minimum wage

(Photo: Shutterstock)

France:

In 2015 France saw a minuscule rise in its minimum wage of 0.8 percent. That means French workers on the SMIC, as the minimum wage is known will earn €9.61 an hour (compared to €9.53 in 2014). For someone working full time the monthly gross income on a minimum wage stands at €1,457.52 (compared to €1,445.38 last year).

Germany: 

The country resisted bringing in a minimum wage for a long time despite pressure for those on the left. It was eventually made part of a coalition agreement between Merkel’s Christian Democrat Union party and the Social Democrats after the elections in 2013. Germany’s first minimum wage was set at €8.50 per hour, across the country and came into force in January 2015. 

The wage does not cover interns, and trainees though.

Average Salary

France – According to Eurostat the average salary in France stands at €2, 430 but over the Rhine in…

Germany – the average yearly wage is around the €3,000 mark

Paid sick pay leave

(Photo: AFP)

France:

Employers will pay their staff 90 percent of their salaries for the first thirty days of their illness and two thirds of it for another thirty days. Paid sick leave is calculated upon the employees’ years of experience. However employees who have worked less than a year in the company will not be entitled any kind of sick pay leave. The first three days of sick leave are normally not paid, although some companies do cover this period.

Parents are normally allowed three days paid leave per year if their child is sick.

Germany:

In Germany, employers are legally required to provide at least six weeks of sick leave at full salary if the employee can present a medical certificate. After those first six months the employee will receive around 70 percent of their salary, which will be covered by statutory health insurance.

Parents are also allowed up to ten days paid leave each if their children are sick or 20 for single parents.

Unemployment

(Photo:AFP)

France:

After a string of record unemployment figures in recent months, France finally saw a slight improvement in January, with statistics published on Wednesday showing 3.48 million people are currently claiming jobless benefits. The unemployment rate stands around 10.4 percent.

Germany:

While unemployment continues to be a major issue in France, Germany on the other hand does not have the same problem. The most recent figures showed that the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent in January, down from 6.6 percent in December and the lowest rate since 1990.

Paid Holidays

France:

French workers have a reputation for always being on holiday, or at least in August. Indeed, as well as the 11 public holidays in the year, full-time French employees are entitled to five weeks paid leave per year (25 days), although often they are not allowed to take any holiday in the first year of a job. Then there’s the RTT days for those who work over 35-hours a week, which can add up to a maximum of an extra 22 days off a year.

Germany:

On average Germany has only nine public holidays in the year, but it often depends on what state you are in. Some like Bavaria have up to 13 public holidays a year. When it comes to holidays, the statutory minimum entitlement is 24 days, although thanks to collective agreements in some professions, the number of paid days off can reach 30.

by Priscillia Charles

Ten reasons why France is better than Germany

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WORKING IN GERMANY

EXPLAINED: The 25 most in-demand jobs in Germany

For those considering relocating to Germany - or looking for a new profession - here are the most in-demand jobs out there, according to a study by LinkedIn.

EXPLAINED: The 25 most in-demand jobs in Germany

Germany is desperate to fill jobs. In autumn last year, authorities said there was a shortage of 390,000 skilled workers. 

The new government plans to ease red tape and overhaul immigration policies to make it easer for non-EU nationals to come to the country. 

READ ALSO: What Germany’s coalition proposals mean for citizenship and immigration

But many people already within Germany might also be thinking about a change of career, or pivoting to a related sector, especially after the Covid pandemic changed the world of work. 

For those who are curious, international job search engine LinkedIn has published a list of jobs that are in-demand in Germany. Although lots of positions in Germany require that you speak German, many companies are international and encourage English speakers to apply.

What is the list?

The so-called LinkedIn Jobs in Trend 2022 list shows the 25 occupations that have grown the most over the past five years compared to other other positions. 

The list “allows insight into how the job market is evolving and the long-term opportunities it presents – whether you’re looking to change careers, re-enter the workforce or upskill for future challenges,” said LinkedIn. 

It’s based on LinkedIn data between January 2017 and July 2021. 

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Here is the list of the top 25 positions, including the core skills required for each and the desired amount of experience for candidates according to LinkedIn.

In some of the descriptions below we haven’t translated the job name  to German – that’s because it is usually advertised in Germany with the English name.

1. Consultant for the public sector (Berater*in für den öffentlichen Sektor)

Responsibilities: Advising public and government institutions on the modernisation and digitalisation of administration and infrastructure

Most common skills: Public Policy, Management Consulting, Policy Field Analysis

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 2.8 

2. Product analyst (Produktanalyst*in)

Responsibilities: Product analysts use metrics to evaluate a company’s products to determine whether they meet current and future market needs

Most common skills: Tableau, Google BigQuery, SQL

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 3.7 

A man at his home office desk.

A man works at his ‘home office’ desk. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

3. Business development specialist or consultant (Beschäftigte in der Geschäftsentwicklung)

Responsibilities: Business development employees develop companies, enter new markets and evaluate sales opportunities

Most common skills: salesforce, account management, inside sales

Top regions hiring in: Berlin Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 3.3

4. Sustainability manager (Nachhaltigkeitsmanager*in)

Responsibilities: Sustainability management employees are based in corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments and look after the social, environmental and economic aspects of a company

Most common skills: Sustainability reporting, corporate social responsibility, life cycle assessment management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Berlin and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 3.8

5. Cyber Security Specialist (Cyber Security Spezialist*in)

Responsibilities: Unlike IT security, cyber security is not limited to the environment of your own company, but also keeps an eye on wider threats from the internet in order to ward off viruses, Trojans or ransomware

Most common skills: ISO 27001, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 7.1

6. Developer for machine learning (Entwickler*in für maschinelles Lernen)

Responsibilities: Machine learning developers create so-called artificial intelligence. They research and design models and algorithms that enable machines to recognise patterns in large volumes of data, among other things

Most common skills: TensorFlow, Python (programming language), Keras 

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 3.3 

READ ALSO: Working in Germany – 7 factors that can affect how much you’re paid

7. User Experience (UX) Researcher

Responsibilities: User experience researchers find out what users need and want and prepare these findings for developers, marketers, designers and others

Most common skills: Usability testing, design thinking, human-computer interaction

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 4.6

8. Real estate finance specialist (Spezialist*in für Immobilienfinanzierung)

Responsibilities: Real estate finance specialists accompany and advise clients from the initial property enquiries stage to closing the deal and agreeing on financial arrangements

Most common skills: Construction financing, finance, sales

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 5.3

9. Head of Public Affairs (Leiter*in Public Affairs)

Responsibilities: Public affairs is the strategic aim to integrate the interests of the employer into political decision-making processes. Also known as lobbying, the job description should not be confused with public relations (corporate communications)

Most common skills: Politics, international relations, strategic communication

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 7.2

10. Information security officer (Beauftragte*r für Informationssicherheit)

Responsibilities: Information Security Officers protect data in analogue and digital form. To do this, they ensure that sensitive data is only accessible to authorised persons at all times.

Most common skills: ISO 27001, Information Security Management System (ISMS), data protection management

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 10.2

11. Specialist in talent acquisition (Spezialist*in für Talentakquise)

Responsibilities: Talent acquisition specialists identify suitable job candidates and take care of the strategic development of the Talent Acquisition department

Most common skills: Employer branding, sourcing, talent management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 3.8

12. Expansion manager

Responsibilities: Expansion managers accompany the growth of companies and take care of things like the purchase or leasing of business space in optimal locations

Most common skills: Business development, marketing, strategic planning

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 5.7

13. Test engineer (Prüfingenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Cars, wind turbines, lifts, amusement park rides and countless other technical constructions must be regularly checked for safety. This is where test engineers come into play

Most common skills: LabVIEW, Matlab, electrical engineering

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Hamburg and Tübingen areas

Average years of experience: 4 

14. Marketing (Marketingmitarbeiter*in)

Responsibilities: Marketing employees (Associates) support the planning and implementation of marketing activities for companies and organisations

Most common skills: Social media marketing, online marketing, content marketing

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Hamburg and Munich

Average years of experience: 2.7

15. Data engineer (Dateningenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Data engineers deal with the collection, processing and checking of data

Most common skills: Apache Spark, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Apache Hadoop |

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 4.8 

16. Personnel officer recruiting (Personalreferent*in Recruiting)

Responsibilities: Recruiters use job advertisements and various channels to search for suitable candidates for open positions in the company and personally recruit suitable candidates

Most common skills: Active sourcing, e-recruiting, employer branding

Top regions. hiring in: Munich, Berlin and Cologne-Bonn areas

Average years of experience: 3.3 

A woman sits at a desk.

Are you looking for a chance in career? Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Finn Winkler

17. Manager in strategic partnerships (Manager*in Strategische Partnerschaften)

Job Purpose: Strategic partnerships managers are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with business partners to further the development and distribution of their own products and services

Most common skills: Business development, account management, product management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 6

18. Head of Software Development (Leiter*in Softwareentwicklung)

Responsibilities: Software Development Managers are responsible for all stages of software application development. They control and structure planning, organisation and execution

Most common skills: Agile methods, cloud computing, product management

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 12.2 

READ ALSO:

19. Data science specialist

Responsibilities: Data science experts or data scientists help companies to make data-based decisions. They build a structured database from raw data, analyse data and prepare it with business background knowledge

Most common skills: Python (programming language), R, SQL

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Hamburg areas

Average years of experience: 3

20. Robotics engineer (Robotik-Ingenieur*in)

Responsibilities: Robotics engineers develop and programme robots and other intelligent assistance systems, whether for medicine, gastronomy, or future cars.

Most common skills: Robotic Process Automation (RPA), UiPath, C++ 

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg areas 

Average years of experience: 3.8 

21. Investment associate (Investmentmitarbeiter*in)

Responsibilities: Which areas are worth investing in, which companies are suitable for takeover? This is checked by investment managers through market observations, financial modelling and due diligence procedures

Most common skills: Private equity, corporate finance, mergers & acquisitions (M&A)

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 2.7 years

22. Chief Information Security Officer

Responsibilities: Many companies are not only urgently looking for information security officers (see position 10), senior positions in this professional field are also in high demand

Most common skills: Information Security Management System (ISMS), ISO 27001, IT Risk Management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin areas

Average years of experience: 14.3

23. Manager in strategic sales (Manager*in im strategischen Vertrieb)

Responsibilities: Strategic Sales Managers usually look after selected target and existing customers over a longer period of time. Duties include preparing quotations and negotiating prices

Most common skills: Solution selling, business development, account management

Top regions hiring in: Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt areas

Average years of experience: 9.3

24. Communications manager (Kommunikationsmanager*in)

Responsibilities: Communications managers take care of PR work inside and outside a company – this includes planning communication strategies as well as implementing campaigns on social networks or organising press appointments and events

Most common skills: Strategic communication, public relations/PR, internal/external communication

Top regions hiring in: Berlin, Munich and Nuremberg areas

Average years of experience: 5.4 

25. Specialist writer for medicine (Fachautor*in Medizin)

Responsibilities: Medical writers produce documents in a medical context, such as study reports for scientific journals, texts for regulatory authorities and information sheets for medicines – but also journalistic texts for websites or magazines

Most common skills: Clinical studies, scientific writing, life sciences

Top regions hiring in: Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich areas

Average years of experience: 5.2

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