Working in Hamburg

Updated 2022-11-15 01:37

Located in Northern Germany, near the Elbe River mouth, Hamburg is the country's second-largest city after Berlin. Stretching over some 755 km², Hamburg's population amounts to approximately 1.8 million inhabitants within a metropolitan area of about 5.1 million people.

Hamburg is one of Europe's most important economic hubs, hosting a large number of expatriates from across the globe due to the various job prospects it offers. Also, Hamburg is an important educational, scientific, and research hub, with some of the best research centres in Europe, such as the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, which is Germany's largest institute for treatments and therapies for tropical and infectious diseases. Also, the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology conducts world-class research on climate change and the Centre for Molecular Neurobiology is one of the best neuroscience centres in Germany. 

Career opportunities in Hamburg

Hamburg is mainly a tourist, maritime, and economic hub. In fact, Hamburg's maritime port is part of the region's industrial zone, thus contributing to its economic dynamism. Other fields, such as shipbuilding and aerospace, medical technology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics, services, and media are also considered to be Hamburg's economic pillars. Hamburg is home to several big German companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Lufthansa, Otto, as well as many banks and other financial institutions. It is a hub for many multinationals, such as Yahoo, Google, Airbus, which offer work opportunities for English speakers. Here, you will also find a large number of small and medium enterprises.

The city has some of the most renowned research facilities in the country and in Europe. Hence, if you are an academic or a researcher in the field of medicine, science, climate change, and humanities, there are many work opportunities to consider in Hamburg. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that research positions are very competitive, and you should persistently and consistently try to get one. So, here's a short presentation of some of Hamburg's world-class research centres: 

  • DESY Research Centre is among the world's leading centres for particle acceleration. DESY attracts around 3,000 visiting scientists from more than 40 countries yearly. Alongside the European XFEL and the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), DESY brings knowledge from some of the best research minds in the world.
  • The Academy of Sciences and Humanities (Akademie der Wissenschaften) works on interdisciplinary research for societal issues. Research is done on a wide variety of topics, and the centre is proud of its own publications, such as the “Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg,” and the “Series of Papers of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg.”
  • The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine is the largest institute for tropical medicine in Germany. Being one of the best places for research in parasitology, immunology, virology, and epistemology, it also runs the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine in Ghana and has facilities for the research of some of the deadliest viruses and bacteria on earth.
  • Hamburg Institute for Social Research organises workshops and research conferences in contemporary history and social sciences. The institute collaborates with many notable European institutes and publishes Mittelweg 36, a journal which follows the projects oriented towards understanding democracy, statehood, violence, and political development in modern democracies.
  • Max Planck Institute for Meteorology does climate research through systems which do a simulation of oceans and countries. The centre collaborates with the University of Hamburg and with the Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP). The research centre works towards understanding the role of the ocean in the climate through satellite observations of the earth's atmosphere.

Useful links: 

The Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine

Hamburg Institute for Social Research

Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

The labor market in Hamburg

According to the most recent statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, the unemployment rate in Hamburg was 7.2 percent as of August 2022. An interesting observation is that unemployment among women is higher than unemployment among men. Overall, the increase in unemployment during this time, is explained by the COVID-19 crisis, which has impacted many sectors, including the manufacturing, hospitality, and trade sectors. On the other hand, employment in Hamburg has grown in the heath sector. 

The tourism sector, even though it suffered heavily during the pandemic, is overall a significant employer in Hamburg, as the city is one of Germany's most visited cities, not only for its historical sites and other places of interest but also for the major annual events, such as the Hamburg International Music Festival, the International Short Film Festival Hamburg, and the Hamburg Port Anniversary, which is the world's largest harbour festival. Also, Hamburg is the world's third-largest venue for musical shows after New York and London, and over two million visitors travel to Hamburg for that reason every year. Furthermore, there are plenty of world-famous transatlantic cruise lines departing from Hamburg, which offer seasonal or long term jobs.

Good to know: 

According to recent (2021) statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, there's a big demand for professionals in roles, such as train driving, plumbing, elderly care, nursing, and energy engineering. At the same time, there's more demand than offer in roles, such as event management, journalism, teaching, psychotherapy, and photography. 

Finding a job in Hamburg

During your job search in Hamburg, you can check out job offers on the internet and in classified ads in local newspapers. Of course, if you are keen on working with a specific organisation, you should keep an eye on its website for new job opportunities, or even send a spontaneous application introducing yourself. However, if you follow this path, you should be able to do so in German, as English emails from unknown senders may not be a priority. Alternatively, you may register with local authorities or with a recruitment agency if you are already there. These will help you find a job according to your profile more rapidly.

Good to know: 

If you aspire to develop your career in Germany, learning the language is essential. There are many places to take fast courses to learn German before start applying for jobs, such as the Deutsch Institut, Goethe Institut or the International School Hamburg.

Useful links: 

Deutsch Institut

Goethe Institut

International School Hamburg.

Jobbörse Arbeitsamt


Hamburg Jobs

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.