Could wages in Germany be set to soar this year?

Economics experts believe the country's ageing population and ongoing skills gap could mean that workers in Germany are in for a pay rise.

Could wages in Germany be set to soar this year?
A worker glazes wooden planks on a ship in Bremerhaven. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Mohssen

Speaking to German daily Bild, Gabriel Felbermayr, the head of the Institute for the World Economy (IfW) in Kiel said that “the situation for workers in Germany is the best it’s been in 30 years”. 

According to Felbermayr, Germany’s ageing population and shortages of labour mean wages could rise by around five percent on average over the next year.

In industries where employers are struggling to find enough workers, the wage increases could be even higher.

“From 2023 at the latest, the number of available workers will gradually decrease due to demographic change,” he explained. “Companies will therefore vie for employees more than they have for decades.”

At present, Germany has near full employment, but the desperate search for workers to fill jobs in key industries like engineering and healthcare has become a major issue for the government and business. 

In late August this year, the head of Germany’s federal Employment Agency said the country was losing around 150,000 working-age people a year and needed at least 400,000 new immigrant annually to plug the gap. 

“Germany is running out of skilled workers,” Detlef Scheele told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, adding: “In the next few years, (the loss of workers) will be much more dramatic.”

Cost of living on the rise

In addition to Germany’s ageing population and labour shortages, Felbermayr said an increase in the minimum wage from €9.30 to at least €12 – a policy that has been taken up by parties such as the Greens and SPD – and higher inflation would also contribute to wages rising significantly more than before.

In previous years, wages have generally only risen by between 2.5 and three percent. Meanwhile, the prices of everyday items like food and household goods has been rising steeply. 

In August alone, prices rose by 3.9 percent in Germany and by three percent across the Eurozone as a whole. Experts expect this figure to keep rising in Europe, reaching a peak of around 3.5 percent in November. 

As The Local has reported in recent days, electricity and gas prices are also rising dramatically for households across Germany. 


So far, the rise in the cost of living hasn’t been matched by equivalent rises in salaries, but with Germany’s ongoing labour shortage woes, this could be set to change. 

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How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck!