- Education & Work
How to (Re-)Start Your Career in Germany
29 Mar 2022
Many internationals choose Germany for starting or re-vitalising their careers. This does not come as a surprise since Germany has Europe’s largest economy as well as a very high standard of living which make it a very attractive destination for work migration. Moreover, Germany’s well-established social security system as well as extensive labour protection laws ensure fair working conditions to its workforce. The German government has set up a website called “Make-it-in-Germany” where you can find all the information needed to kickstart your career in Germany. This platform provides information on a broad range of topics including tips for finding a job as well as information on the working environment at German companies, such as how an employment contract usually looks like.
While these guidelines are highly valuable for starting your career abroad, an important issue that is often overlooked is the question of how to re-start your career after taking a break. There are many reasons for interrupting your professional career and re-continuing it later on. These include health-related issues but also family planning as well as supporting relatives or friends. A career change can also lead to a longer gap in your employment. No matter what the individual reasons are, a break in your career is nothing inherently negative but can give you the time and space to develop new perspectives. After all, it is never too late to decide to re-activate your career!
Depending on your individual situation, there are a lot of tools that can help you to get back on track after a break in your career. If you could not work for at least 6 weeks in a row due to a sickness, you have a legal right to receive support from your employer in order to reintegrate in the job. The so-called in-company integration management (German: betriebliches Eingliederungsmanagement – BEM) has been integrated into the German employment system in order to improve the chances of successfully re-integrating employees into the company after long term sick leave. Remember that every employee working in Germany (for private and public companies or organisations) is legally entitled to a BEM which has to be provided by his/her employer. The German Ministry of Employment has published a leaflet with more information on this topic (in German).
When it comes to re-starting your career after a break that was related to starting your own family or taking care of elderly family members, there are specific support programs in place. These programs often focus on women since most of the care work is still done by them. The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth has compiled a lot of useful tools that can facilitate re-entering the job market. For instance, there is a calculator which can show you the financial benefits of re-starting your career. You just have to enter a few personal details as well as your work experience and the online-tool can give you a forecast on your potential earnings and tax amounts. The ministry also offers a lot of useful publications (usually in German) for women wishing to get back into formal employment. Last but not least, career events that are particularly catered to women can be a very useful starting point. At these events, experienced coaches provide information on common questions such as how to confidently deal with your career gaps during a job interview. Moreover, these events can serve as a platform to get to know and connect with other people who have to deal with the same challenges. The next “Women and Work Career Day” will take place online on April 30, 2022, from 2 to 6 pm.
We hope this article will help you to (re-)start your own career in Germany or to help family and friends with it. If there are any further questions, please comment below, connect with others in the New2 FORUM or write to us at [email protected]!
Written by: Ferdinand Schlechta
Cover Photo: Unsplash - Christin Hume
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