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Recruiting in Germany? 10 Q&A’s You Don’t Want to Miss


Recruiting throughout the world can be a difficult task. If you’re in the United States and asked to recruit in a foreign country, you might not know where exactly to start, especially if you are not familiar with the language. There are different cities/states, industries, cultural differences, and more that are vital parts to a successful recruitment campaign and overall hiring plan.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help! Throughout 2019, we will break down the data and interview the top job boards in countries where most US-based companies are recruiting.

To get started, we’re going to focus on recruiting in Germany.

Here are a few quick facts:

  • The population of Germany is 83 million; it’s the 17th most populated country in the world
  • 65% of the German population is of working age (15 to 64)
  • Of all the 27 European Union states, Germany has the highest percentage of immigrants in its population. In fact, Germany is the second most popular destination for immigrants in the world after the United States.

To get even more insider info into the German recruitment process, we interviewed Stepstone, our partner in Germany. Here’s what they told us.

  1. What are the top 5 states to recruit in for Germany (overall)?

The top 5 states* to recruit in Germany in the first half of 2018 were: 

  • Hamburg
  • Berlin
  • Bremen
  • Hessen
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg

*Germany does not have cities, so being aware of which state you’re recruiting in is key!

  1. What are the top 5 job types (or occupation groups) in Germany?

The top 5 occupation groups* in Germany based on the number of job advertisements in 2018 were:

  • IT jobs (16%)
  • Technical jobs (15%)
  • Sales jobs (11%)
  • Finance and accounting jobs (10%)
  • Engineering jobs (8%)

*Germany does not have industries, so being aware of which occupational group you’re recruiting in is key!

  1. What does the current economic landscape in Germany look like?

In general, the current economic landscape in Germany looks promising. The economy is growing, and the labour market is developing positively. As a result, private income also has been increasing noticeably: Net wages and salaries per employee are expected to rise by 4.8% in 2019.

However, the impact of the demographic change should not be neglected. Older employees are retiring, and younger replacements do not have the equivalent knowledge, leaving thousands of positions unfilled every year. In fact, it was just recently estimated that Germany needs at least 260,000 immigrants every year until 2060 for the economy not to collapse.

Fortunately, Germany is currently the most popular work destination in Europe and is ahead of every other country in the world, except the United States.

Thus, it becomes more and more important for corporate leaders and economic policy makers to look at people’s needs: where they want to work, what they want in a job, and where to find needed skills to keep the economy running.

  1. What is one recruitment concern that Germany is currently facing?

When you ask big companies what worries them, they’d most likely mention the difficulty of managing a workforce at a time of rapid change. Jobs being transformed by automation and artificial intelligence is one big concern as positions require new digital capabilities or deep technical expertise.

Therefore, the increasingly digitalised labour market does not require fewer employees, rather more skilled ones with a high level of qualifications, such as technicians, masters and academics.

It is advisable that organisations become more agile and adaptable to the changing environment of the digital revolution.

  1. What is the best way to recruit in Germany?

The most popular way to recruit in Germany is via the online job market: 85% of companies look there for candidates. Also, the company’s own website (69%) and career networks (46%) are common platforms for finding new employees.

Almost half of the companies use their own employees as corporate ambassadors: 78% of companies have an employee referral program that rewards employees for successful advertising.

  1. Are there any challenges that recruiters in Germany are facing right now?

Recruiters face the challenge of finding the right number of qualified candidates, as competition for the best talent gets more and more intense. Solely in the first half of 2018, the number of advertised positions in Germany grew by 46% from 2012.

A recent StepStone study shows which obstacles recruiters face in particular:

  • Finding qualified candidates (82%)
  • Finding enough candidates (72%)
  • Managing time pressure in staffing (59%)
  • Gaining awareness as attractive employer (58%)
  • Overcoming internal requirements on the recruitment process (57%)
  1. What attracts a job seeker to a job posting the most (what will get them to click on apply)?

Results from a recent StepStone study show that the main reasons why potential candidates decide not to apply for open positions on company websites are: the provision of unrealistic information by the company (53%), an unappealing website (25%), complicated access to vacancies (20%) or that the information provided on a company page was not promising (7%).

Therefore, a well written job posting describing the job and company on a user-friendly site is no longer merely an option, but a must! Employer branding is the key to getting applicants excited and applying to jobs.

  1. What do job seekers value the most from a company (salary, benefits, environment)?

Choosing a job is very important. Therefore, candidates examine job offers very thoroughly. The majority seek an attractive salary (96%), secured employment (93%), and flexible working hours (91%). Trainings, as well as personal development possibilities, are also highly valued (86%), followed by team-oriented labour (83%) and modern technical equipment (82%).

When it comes to benefits, candidates look for financial ones; such as a company pension (78%), profit-sharing (58%) or a success-oriented bonus (58%).

  1. What are the newest trends in recruiting?

The latest trend to reach ideal candidates is digital recruiting: job platforms, career websites, and one-click applications.

Nonetheless, recruiters are still careful with this trend. Only one-third of companies offer mobile-optimised applications.

  1. Any fun facts about Germany or recruiting in Germany?
    The general average salary amounts to $65,819.51 USD gross per year.

As you can see, Germany is a thriving country, with great potential to find exactly the employees you are seeking. And, Stepstone Germany attracts more than 22.8 million visits per month, and is consistently ranked as one of the top job boards in Germany.

To make things even easier for all US-based recruiters, Nexxt is Stepstone’s US partner, which means if you need to recruit in Germany, we can help!

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.