Living and Working in Berlin
The Berlin jobs market is buoyant, and shows a healthy demand for integrated roles, and an increasing need for strong social media skilled workers. In fact, social media and community management roles are a real growth area. For many people, Berlin offers some amazing working conditions. German employees enjoy some of the highest salaries in the world, generous benefits and state-mandated job protection. Indeed, in a range of industries, working hours have been reduced to 35 hours a week.
Taxation, and the costs of essential services are relatively high in Berlin, but excellent health and social security facilities compensate. Germany operates a sliding scale of personal taxation based on income. Those earning between 8,005 and 52,881 Euros a year will pay between 14% and 42% income tax.
Berlin’s regulated housing market, and large private rental community puts it ahead of other major European cities for rent affordability. This is a huge bonus if you’re thinking of a move to Berlin or another German destination. If you’re thinking of buying, even with Berlin’s strong demand and scarce supply, properties are still under-valued and much cheaper, in comparison with other European capitals, such as London, Rome, Oslo, Paris and Budapest. Mortgages are easy to obtain, and banks typically lend 50-60% of the valuation. Rates can be as low as 3% and are often fixed over several years.
Living in Berlin
Berlin is somewhat different from other European cities, as each of its central areas spreads out into the suburbs. As a result, residents usually find themselves well connected to the U-Bahn underground railway, S-Bahn (above ground), or tram. The city is also home to 138 museums, more than 400 art galleries, 44 theatres, and no fewer than three major opera houses. This is an exciting and diverse city, where things are very ordered, but with quirks that may surprise you. For instance, apartments are not numbered, rather identified with the occupant’s name; pharmacies hand out a free pack of tissues with each purchase, and pillows tend to be square rather than rectangular!
In Germany, public sector schools are free of charge. Primary school runs from the age of 6 to 10, then children go to lower secondary school until they’re 15 or 16. After that part-time, compulsory education continues until 18, for those not attending a school. Pupils who attend general and vocational schools are entitled to financial assistance from the tenth year, provided they have no other income or financial means. The level of assistance is fixed by means testing.
In Germany there is very much a culture of continuous-assessment, based on written examinations and oral contributions at every level.
Germany’s universal healthcare system is one of the oldest in the world. Everyone who is a legal resident in Germany is entitled, and it is a legal requirement to have public or private health insurance. Most salaried workers are automatically enrolled on public health insurance, with contributions funded from their monthly salary.
Berlin is temperate, although Winter can be very cold. However, Spring and Summer bring everyone out, to enjoy the café culture of this vibrant and exciting city.
Some comparison prices
|Hong Kong(HK dollars)
|Average annual salaryFor an Account/Director
|Average cost of a VW Golf
|Average cost of a litre of fuel
|Average monthly rentOne bed apartment
|Average monthly disposable salary after tax
|Average annual mortgage rate
|Average cost of monthly utilities
Berlin is a great choice of city, if you’re looking for a combination of excitement and ordered reassurance.
- Looking for work