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WORKING IN GERMANY

German online bank N26 to create 1,000 new jobs

German online bank N26 said Monday it would hire an additional 1,000 people.

A person holds a N26 bank card.
A person holds a N26 bank card. The bank is set to hire 1,000 new staff members. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christophe Gateau

The bank raised more than $900 million (€775 million) from private investors. N26 called it the “largest financing round to date for a digital bank in Europe” that brought the Berlin-based startup’s valuation “to more than $9.0 billion”.

“With our fresh capital, we are in pole position to become one of the biggest retail banks in Europe, all without a single branch,” Valentin Stalf, CEO and co-founder of N26, said in a statement.

The bank plans to add another 1,000 staff to its workforce of 1,500 people worldwide. The new hires will be focused on product, technology and cybersecurity, it said.

Founded in 2013, N26 offers free, online-only banking services and is one of Germany’s most high-profile financial technology or “fintech” firms.

It now has seven million customers in 25 countries.

READ ALSO: What are the best banks for foreigners in Germany

Its rapid growth has rested in part on fast-track identity procedures for new customers.

But N26 has been in the crosshairs of Germany’s finance watchdog BaFin since 2018 after a German news media investigation found that it was possible to open account with forged IDs.

BaFin has repeatedly ordered the bank to step up its internal controls and slapped the company with a 4.25-million-euro fine in June.

N26 said the fine was in connection with around 50 “suspicious transactions” linked to money laundering between 2019 and 2020.

The company said it reported the suspicious operations to BaFin too late for them to be properly examined.

N26 says it has since put in place measures aimed at improving the disclosure of suspicious activities.

“N26 is taking its responsibilities in the fight against the growing threat of global financial crime,” it said last month.

In Monday’s statement, N26 added that it had agreed with German regulators to limit new customers to 50,000-70,000 per month for the time being.

READ ALSO: Why bank customers in Germany are facing higher fees

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WORKING IN GERMANY

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! 

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