Urgently needed: experts in technology, IT, and science
Germany has often been called a nation of poets and philosophers. Yet it is also a land of invention and innovation. Many essential products of the modern world are based on German discoveries. This story of technological ingenuity stretches from the automobile and the X-ray machine to headache tablets and rotor blades for wind turbines. Today, the country remains a centre of innovation, with a host of German companies from diverse sectors operating at the very cutting edge of technology.
The acronym STEM refers to the fields of knowledge - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics - that are of vital importance in this context. Although the great majority of STEM jobs are to be found in the private sector, the state also provides for employment in this field, by funding a whole range of world-class scientific and technological research institutes such as the Max Planck Society and the Fraunhofer Society.
A shortage of STEM graduates
It is not only the research sector that struggles to attract first-rate recruits. Industry, too, is finding it increasingly hard to secure graduates with a degree in STEM subjects. In addition to engineers, there is also a substantial demand for scientists, mathematicians, and IT experts. For it is not only German carmakers and engineering companies that are among the very best in the world: some of the global players in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries are likewise from Germany. And the same is true of the German biotech and nanotech sectors. In all of these areas, the demand for first-rate scientists is consistently high.
Similarly, many of the larger companies from throughout the German economy need IT specialists to perform a range of tasks. These include programming advanced machine-control systems, writing company software, ensuring the security of complex systems, and managing the ever larger field of online applications. Mathematicians are also in great demand, particularly in banks and insurance companies.
At present, job prospects for STEM graduates are excellent, whatever the field. Indeed, in recent years, German companies have been unable to recruit anything like the number of scientists, mathematicians, and IT experts needed to fill vacant positions. Compared with typical graduates of other disciplines, STEM graduates are much more likely to be offered a permanent contract when entering the job market and have a significantly higher earnings potential. Average starting salaries for STEM graduates are between €35,000 and €40,000 a year. After 10 years of professional experience, salary levels rise to an average of about €70,000.
If you have a degree from your home country in one of the STEM fields, you may apply to have your degree verified by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). This will permit you to show on your job applications which German educational qualification your degree corresponds to. Further details are available at www.kmk.org/zab/zeugnisbewertungen.html (German).
Information on this portal
Information on the World Wide Web
“MINT–Zukunft schaffen” – A STEM Recruitment Initiative
Employment for STEM graduates in Germany (German)
The Fraunhofer Society
Europe’s largest organization for applied research (German, English)
The Max Planck Society
A total of 80 Max Planck Institutes pursue fundamental research in the natural, life, and social sciences, and in the humanities (German, English)