Working in Frankfurt

Frankfurt has been a popular expat destination for decades. Its major drawcard is the world of work and the opportunities the city provides for ambitious professionals. 

The workplace in Frankfurt is certainly not for the faint-hearted. New arrivals are expected to work efficiently and prove their worth. Their hard work is usually rewarded with great salaries and the excellent standard of living which Frankfurt offers its residents. 

Job market in Frankfurt

Frankfurt is the financial, commercial and industrial capital of Germany, and along with Paris and London, is one of the major banking and financial centres of Europe. The city is home to over 400 banks and financial institutions as well as the Frankfurt Stock Exchange – the largest in Germany.

Major names in finance with large operations in Frankfurt include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. The city is also home to two important central banks, namely the European Central Bank and the German Federal Bank.

The aviation industry is another prominent employer in Frankfurt. Frankfurt International Airport is one of the world's busiest airports and the single largest place of work in Germany, employing over 70,000 people. Other major employers in the aviation industry include Lufthansa, Condor and Fraport. 

Frankfurt is also home to Germany's highest concentration of lawyers and, as a result, most of the world's large international law firms maintain offices in the city, including Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklalters and Norton Rose Fulbright. 

Finding a job in Frankfurt

Such a high-profile work environment means expats should prepare for a competitive, professional and fast-paced experience. Most expatriates naturally work in the financial, banking and business industries, and most often for international employers that are building their presence in Germany. It is important to note that many of the expats in Frankfurt are relocated by companies they have worked for previously or are headhunted, so it is important to be well qualified when applying for positions in the city. 

Regardless of where one works, however, it is essential to speak some German, both to better business interaction and to smooth out social dealings. Ideally, German lessons should be taken before arrival in Frankfurt, and continued with one of the many courses available for German second language speakers in the city.

Expats from non-EU countries and some newer EU-member states are required to have a work visa to commence employment in Frankfurt. This can be applied for at the German consulate in an expat's home country. EU nationals have the considerable advantage of not requiring a work permit in Frankfurt.