Working in Cologne

Updated 2022-11-13 22:20

Cologne is one of Germany's leading destinations for professional expats after Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Munich. That is because the city offers the convenience of the large cities, but the coziness and access to nature of a town — making it an ideal place for work-life balance.

Cologne is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region near the Ruhrpott (Ruhr Valley), Germany's most populated region. The city center's population amounts to about one million inhabitants. Being an important economic hub, Cologne offers numerous career opportunities to international talent wishing to settle there. Hence, you should not have much trouble finding a job in Cologne if you have the skills required by the local labor market. Here it's worth mentioning that the neighboring towns of Düsseldorf and Bonn, which can easily be reached in less than 30 minutes by train, also offer great job opportunities.

The most popular industries in Cologne

Cologne is one of the most important media hubs in Germany. Home to television (e.g., RTL, NetCologne, and WDR) and radio stations, as well as publishing houses, and marketing agencies, Cologne attracts creatives with diverse backgrounds and qualifications (e.g., tech, broadcasting, production, journalism, public relations, and communications to name but a few). In addition, Cologne is a popular travel destination among Germans. Therefore, professionals in the hospitality and tourism industry may feel welcomed in the city as there's high demand for waiters, bartenders, chefs, receptionists, and hotel managers. Last, Cologne is an important business center for Germany due to its well-connected transportation system, offering access by sea, land, and air. The port of Cologne — the second biggest inland port in Germany — on the Rhine River has a cargo yard of over 1000 square kilometers. Also, the Cologne Bonn Airport is one of the largest cargo airports in the country, home to colossal transportation corporations such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL. Jobs in this sector vary from couriers and drivers to air traffic managers, shipping merchants, and warehouse specialists. 

Useful links: 

Jobs in Cologne 

Jobs at RTL

Vacancies at WDR

Cologne Bonn Airport

Cologne's economy

North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany's strongest industrial and economic region and hosts over a third of Germany's top 100 corporations. Cologne's economy is based on several fields, such as aerospace, automotive manufacturing, information and communications technology, media and broadcasting, air transport, and food production. Insurance, tourism, and research are other important economic pillars. The region is home to numerous international global players such as BP, 3M, Ericsson, and Vodafone. Some of the major companies operating in Cologne are Ford, Toyota, AXA international insurance company, Lufthansa, and REWE — a German retail and tourism co-operative group. You will also find three large breweries, namely Heinrich Reissdorf, Gaffel Becker & Co, and Cölner Hofbräu Früh. 

Useful links: 

Jobs with BP at North Rhine-Westphalia 

3M jobs in North Rhine-Westphalia

Ericsson jobs in North Rhine-Westphalia

Positions for internationals at Vodafone Germany

Careers at AXA Group

Lufthansa Group career opportunities in Cologne

Jobs with REWE at the Cologne headquarters 

Finding a job in Cologne

As seen in this article, Cologne is a diverse area in Germany when it comes to job opportunities at all levels: entry, senior, and executive. In addition, most companies are familiar with internships and keen on hiring fresh graduates and incorporating them into their business via training and knowledge sharing. Besides frequently checking the organizations' career pages online, it's worth expanding your network in Germany and Cologne in particular. In's Cologne forum, you can start discussions about employment in Cologne or start your search on the jobs in Cologne page. 

Good to know: 

If you are already in the city, you may seek help from a recruitment agency or the local job centers.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.