Berlin is a diverse European city packed full of culture as well as exciting job opportunities. The digital recruitment market is competitive but it offers an excellent array of roles particularly for those in the digital, creative and technical spheres. This, combined with the chance to live and work in a vibrant foreign city, makes it the perfect choice for those looking for a new challenge.
If you’re considering a move to Germany, then here are the things you need to know about working in Berlin.
Stay ahead of the competition
German working culture has some notable differences to the British workplace. Although many stereotypes of Germans are both incorrect and at times offensive, you will find some qualities that ring true. Being aware of these ahead of time will help you acclimatise and, most importantly, prevent you putting your foot in it and causing offense!
In such an efficient country, you’ll find that your German colleagues prefer to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by anything off the agenda. Germans have a strong value of structure and rules – both in meetings and in workflow. Punctuality, reliability and the avoidance of uncertainty are all traits you need to get in the habit of to succeed in business here.
You’ll discover that direct communication is a must – so always be to the point and avoid using indirect hints or that British tact, as they will likely to be missed. You will also find that email and spoken communication is without ‘niceties’ and superfluous ‘window dressing’ – instead it is direct, which can appear a little blunt. You’ll also find that your colleagues keep a defined line between their public and private lives, which will likely mean not sharing intimate personal details while at work or discussing things like politics.
As if you’d ever consider being late for that meeting! No really, don’t. In Germany, where organisation and efficiency are legendary, lateness is not tolerated. It’s also deemed unnecessary, given the high respect given for schedules and time management. You should be organised enough that lateness has no reason to occur. Turning up ten minutes after a meeting or appointment has begun is fairly rude in any situation, but in Germany, it’s offensive and can create a disastrous first impression.
A point worth bearing in mind about business practices in Germany – regardless of whether your new shiny role might be based remotely or from home – is that professional transactions tend to err more on the side of formality rather than familiarity. A top tip is to respect status – as working within hierarchies is common - and leave humour out until you know your colleagues a little better. That said, funky new start-ups may operate in funky, casual ways, so observe your workmates and let them set the tone.
While many of the roles we recruit for don’t require fluency in the German language, you will find your own experience of living and working abroad so much more pleasant if you learn a bit of the lingo before you go. It will help you in day to day life and will also help ingratiate you with your colleagues. At the very least, learn the basics, such as greetings and offering to make the coffee.
In a previous blog, we looked at why techies choose Berlin, but it’s worth highlighting that in addition to the job opportunities on offer, Germany enjoys a lower cost of living which is on average 1.57 per cent that of the UK’s, according to comparemymove.com. This, combined with average wages that are around 18 per cent higher than in the UK, could make moving to Berlin both a positive financial decision as well as an exciting career move.