Finding ANY jobs in Berlin: Tips for non-German speakers

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there should be a significant logistics sector in Berlin,

 

A friend of mine with a Diplom W-Ing. received a job offer from a logistics company in Berlin a few months ago;1400€/month gross with a 50-60hr/wk :blink: (she turned it down in favour of a position that pays 3 times as much in the south). If a logistics company is paying so little for a graduate position, I really don't want to know what they pay their warehouse direct hires.

 

I agree that the majority of "expats" from OECD countries wouldn't want the work. However, Berlin is less than an hour from the Polish border and some Poles even learn German as their first foreign language. For all these reasons, I have a feeling that the bar for such work (especially regarding knowledge of German) is higher in Berlin than in Munich. However, it is all just speculation on my part. Unfortunately we don't seem to have anyone on TT in Berlin who can share their experience.

 

 

You still need basic German though.

 

How would you define "basic" in the area you live? For the positions I've seen in Berlin (I have a habit of reading everything posted on bulletin boards when I have the time), employers seem to want B1 German here.

 

I actually went to the job fair yesterday and spoke to some of the reps from Zeitarbeitsfirmen because they all seem to have the same job advertised. Supposedly employers contact various agencies with the same position, all the agencies scramble to find and suggest candidates, and then the position is filled within two days.

 

Therefore, the agencies write ads for positions that don’t actually exist with a profile for a candidate type that they know are in demand. The agencies collect CVs, interview candidates, and then just check their database of candidates when they receive a new contract. From what I gather, this seems to be standard practise at quite a few agencies in Berlin.

 

On a more positive note, it seems that it is only my soon to be ex-boss who thinks I need to work on improving my German; everyone with whom I spoke at the fair didn’t seem to have any reservations about considering me for positions that require fluent German and English. :)

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A friend of mine with a Diplom W-Ing. received a job offer from a logistics company in Berlin a few months ago;1400€/month gross with a 50-60hr/wk (she turned it down in favour of a position that pays 3 times as much in the south). If a logistics company is paying so little for a graduate position, I really don't want to know what they pay their warehouse direct hires.

 

Most manpower workers would like to be direct hires but many companies have absolutely no interest in hiring directly because manpower workers are cheaper and you can kick them out any time. If the rates are 7.01, the manpower agency will be paying that. If they were hired on directly, they might not get much more but they would have a fixed place to work and would not be booted out so easily.

 

 

How would you define "basic" in the area you live? For the positions I've seen in Berlin (I have a habit of reading everything posted on bulletin boards when I have the time), employers seem to want B1 German here.

 

Nobody around here is asking a manpower worker to have B1 German. Just that they can understand simple instructions. I had no problem walking into a manpower agency with broken German and getting a job on the spot. There is around 10% unemployment where I live.

 

 

I actually went to the job fair yesterday and spoke to some of the reps from Zeitarbeitsfirmen because they all seem to have the same job advertised. Supposedly employers contact various agencies with the same position, all the agencies scramble to find and suggest candidates, and then the position is filled within two days.

 

This may be true for skilled positions but at least where I live, there are loads of agencies placing loads of workers. Many of the workers don't stick around because they get a better job, find an apprenticeship, get fired because they are lazy etc. so they are always looking for new people.

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A friend of mine with a Diplom W-Ing. received a job offer from a logistics company in Berlin a few months ago;1400€/month gross with a 50-60hr/wk blink.gif (she turned it down in favour of a position that pays 3 times as much in the south). If a logistics company is paying so little for a graduate position, I really don't want to know what they pay their warehouse direct hires.

 

I agree that the majority of "expats" from OECD countries wouldn't want the work. However, Berlin is less than an hour from the Polish border and some Poles even learn German as their first foreign language. For all these reasons, I have a feeling that the bar for such work (especially regarding knowledge of German) is higher in Berlin than in Munich. However, it is all just speculation on my part. Unfortunately we don't seem to have anyone on TT in Berlin who can share their experience.

 

That's an awful offer- good for her that she accepted a much better one.

 

If a direct hire gets paid less than a manpower worker, I have a hard time believing anyone wants to be a direct hire unless they do pretty much nothing at a job which is around the corner from their crib.

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I moved to Berlin in late December, 2010, got a CELTA teaching certification in January, and found work giving private lessons as well as working for a sprachcenter. They did mention in the last weekly email that they are looking for new teachers (I don't think any previous experience is required). If you think you could handle working with small kids, send an email to me (astinar@gmail.com) and I'll put you in contact with the office -Autumn

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Nobody around here is asking a manpower worker to have B1 German. Just that they can understand simple instructions.

 

Then would A1 be enough for Manpower in your area? I really don't know what Manpower would want here, but I've seen ads requiring "gute Deutschkenntnisse" (and 1 or 2 mentioned B1) in the window of an agency a few months ago. It was a small local office I walked by in Pankow, I have no idea what it is was called and whether they are in any way representative of the market in Berlin.

 

We need someone to try it out and report back on their experiences.

 

 

That's an awful offer- good for her that she accepted a much better one.

 

Yes, I'm really glad that she didn't even consider that offer (although it would have been nice if she stayed in Berlin). However, you wouldn't believe some of the stories I hear. Last week I was talking to a German architect who recently graduated; he has a friend who is working 7 days a week for 2000€/month and another who didn't get a job because she wasn't willing to take less than 2k.

 

On the other hand I was speaking to an IT graduate the other day who earns 1400€/month for 20hrs/wk, is completely content, and wouldn't know what to do with more money. :blink:

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If you go to =7"]http://zag.de/48.html?&tx_vczagstellenmarkt_pi1[city]=7 you will find 4 locations for ZAG in Berlin. If you click on Charlottenburg, you find for example this ad: =6065"]http://zag.de/50.html?&tx_vczagstellenmarkt_pi1[job_offer]=6065 As far as I can see, it doesn't say a thing about speaking German. They will not test you but you must be able to understand simple instructions. You can not expect a warehouse foreman to speak English so when he tells you in German put 20 pieces in a box and line them up so and so or sweep the floor or whatever else you are supposed to do, you better not be standing there with a blank stare.

 

When I took the integration course, I had absolutely no problem with the grammar and aced all the practice test without a problem but my vocabulary was crap and there were a lot of people taking the course who could speak a lot better than I could although their grammar was bad and they were really struggling with the tests so you can not really use A1 or B1 to measure someones functionality out in the world. When I started working after the integration course, I had a problem at the start because although I was capable of simple conversation, I was lacking workplace words so I often had to guess or ask again what they wanted me to do.

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Yes, I'm really glad that she didn't even consider that offer (although it would have been nice if she stayed in Berlin). However, you wouldn't believe some of the stories I hear. Last week I was talking to a German architect who recently graduated; he has a friend who is working 7 days a week for 2000€/month and another who didn't get a job because she wasn't willing to take less than 2k.

 

On the other hand I was speaking to an IT graduate the other day who earns 1400€/month for 20hrs/wk, is completely content, and wouldn't know what to do with more money.

 

I can only say for architects. The situation is really that bad. The people in this field and especially in Berlin (where there are high number of them) are subject to severe exploitation and manipulation. This has been going on for years and certainly is not looking any better in near future with school continuing to churn out thousand of graduates each year and the market remaining stagnant.

The lowest-paid architecture graduate I've encountered gets 800€/month Netto and I heard from one with 2 years experience coming back from Switzerland who was offered 900€ Netto for a job in a famous office. This is unimaginable for a college degree but I suspect it's not that uncommon among creative fields e.g music or film. The one who works 7 days a week for 2000€/month (who also understands that after several years he may be kicked out and replaced by some fresh and cheap blood) even feels happy that he has any job at all! Not accepting a position with salary less than 2k/month or 10€/hour? No worry, there are hundreds out there willing to do that for 8€/h.

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Broadly speaking, you need at least B1 to be of any use to a manual labor/gastro employer. Sure, there are differences in aptitude from person to person, but the description as outlined by the Europäische Referenzrahmen states pretty clearly that you first start to be a functioning part of society around B1. BAMF will pay for 600 classroom hours which put a person right at the end of B1, so evidently they too think that that is enough to work a job, a job, any job.

 

Funny when you think about it, though--they won't pay for enough classes for you to get a decent job. I guess it's not necessarily in their interest to pay for foreigners to become actually competitive in the workforce.

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Sometimes they pay for B2. There was a Russian guy in my integration course. As our teacher recruited us for a B2 evening course she was going to be teaching, he came too and his course was paid for. He was on H4 and doing a 1€ job.

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As I said, they'll pay for 600 classroom hours. So if you don't have to start at the very beginning, you can get more out of it.

 

If you do, however, wash up on German shores not speaking a word, the furthest you'll get is the end of B1.

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Funny when you think about it, though--they won't pay for enough classes for you to get a decent job. I guess it's not necessarily in their interest to pay for foreigners to become actually competitive in the workforce.

 

That's an interesting thought, and there may well be something to it. My personal anecdotal observation as regards Munich is that foreigners are badly needed to fill unskilled or semiskilled jobs- there is no way that they could be filled mostly by Germans.

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As I said, they'll pay for 600 classroom hours. So if you don't have to start at the very beginning, you can get more out of it.

 

If you do, however, wash up on German shores not speaking a word, the furthest you'll get is the end of B1.

 

Unfortunately not so. I used only 400 hours to do through my B1 and take the exam and- that's it. They won't pay for B2 or grammar courses or anything else. For the integrationskurse, that is. I guess if I wanted to divorce my working spouse I could get them to pay through C2 as I would be job hunting. But from C1 on, I could just be in (free) University and getting social help for a University degree. And I really don't know any German as I am here in the middle of B2. i just know how much I don't know.

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Thanks for that info :) very helpful. I've got more questions now though! As mentioned in an earlier post, I don't really understand how someone (Russian guy) can have a 'job' earning 1 Euro and still get H4...?

I've found that I don't seem to qualify for H4 or any other kind of help as my German partner earns a decent salary. Which makes it really hard financially for me - affording health insurance, paying for German lessons in order to get a job etc....

Anyone got any tips for me?

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I don't really understand how someone (Russian guy) can have a 'job' earning 1 Euro and still get H4...?

 

If you are on H4, they like to keep you busy. They may give you appointments, make you apply for jobs, send you to courses or send you out to work. When they send you out to work, you get 1€ an hour on top of your benefits. That is a 1€ job.

 

You can however have a real job and still get H4 if you are under the limit of what you would have been getting if you were on H4. A manpower worker would usually not qualify if he is single but if he has a couple of kids, H4 will top him up.

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Thanks for that info very helpful. I've got more questions now though! As mentioned in an earlier post, I don't really understand how someone (Russian guy) can have a 'job' earning 1 Euro and still get H4...?

I've found that I don't seem to qualify for H4 or any other kind of help as my German partner earns a decent salary. Which makes it really hard financially for me - affording health insurance, paying for German lessons in order to get a job etc....

Anyone got any tips for me?

 

Is that your spouse? If not, what does it matter what that person earns? If you are entitled to benefits, why wouldn't you get them? Does living with someone mean that they are considered by the tax authorities to be responsible for you? Or did your partner take that responsibility, in which case that person should pay for your German lessons and health insurance?

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That's a good question Gail - we were told that because we live together, (but are not married), then I couldn't claim any help at all... If that's not correct - then I really need to know!

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