Munich is the economic heart of Germany and one of the biggest tech hubs in Europe. Excellent quality of life, great pre-tax salaries and rich cultural experiences are just some of the drawcards of Bavaria’s capital. If you’re looking to relocate to Munich for work, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Munich has been steadily building a name for itself as the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’ over the past decade. Roughly 1 600 start-ups, plus tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft call it home. What’s more, tech-focused legacy brands like BMW, Siemens and Allianz are all headquartered in the Bavarian capital, creating opportunities for developers that are unique to Munich.
The possibilities of finding a company where the environment and culture will help you thrive are plentiful.
Munich’s Tech Business Industries
Companies and tech startups in Munich span many industries.
The most popular ones are eCommerce, MarTech, FinTech and Big Tech. Companies that fall into these categories account for 53% of the city’s tech businesses. Other industries of note include HR Tech, travel and IoT along with software, apps and security.
Work culture in Munich: Working hours, leave and time off
Like the rest of Germany, businesses in Munich value punctuality, productivity and precision. You’re expected to be at work on time and complete your tasks by the stated deadline, but there’s a clear line between work life and private life.
You’ll likely work 36 to 40 hours over five days (Monday to Friday), with most business conducted in German. Working overtime is unusual, but you may occasionally be asked to put in additional hours. Companies generally don’t pay extra for overtime, but they may give you time off instead.
Labour law rules to know:
- You are entitled to a 30-minute break for every six to nine hours worked.
- You can work a maximum of 60 hours per week.
- Full-time contracted employees get a minimum of 20 days’ paid leave per year plus 13 public holidays.
Benefits and tax in Munich
You will have to pay for health insurance, long-range nursing care, pension fund contributions and unemployment insurance as part of Germany’s social security system (Sozialversicherung). These contributions total about 20% of your salary and are deducted by your employer.
Other benefits will vary depending on the company you work for. If you’re relocating to Munich for work, most tech companies will pay for your visa and any associated costs. They may also cover the cost of relocating, offer housing subsidies when you first arrive and pay for German language courses to help you integrate.
The amount of tax you pay is calculated based on your gross salary. This will be deducted from your payslip each month.
Tax in Germany works on a sliding scale, so the amount you pay increases as your earnings increase. As of 2022, there are four income tax brackets:
|€0 to €9 984
|€9 985 to €58 596*
|14% to 42%
|€58 597 to €277 825
*Tax is deducted on a sliding scale.
If you earn more than €62 000, you will have to pay a 5.5% solidarity surcharge (Solidaritätszuschlag) in addition to income tax. The surcharge was introduced in 1991 to help cover the costs that came with unifying Germany.
Visas for working in Germany as an expat
Unlike many other EU countries, you don’t need a company to sponsor you to get a visa. That said, having your employer’s assistance will reduce the chance of your permit being denied. The process from application to allocation usually takes one to three months.
There two best visa options for developers who want to work in Munich:
- The Temporary Residence Permit is the most common work visa. It can be issued for up to three years and allows you to live and work in Germany.
- You can apply for an EU Blue Card if you will be earning more than the required minimum salary per year. The visa is usually valid for four years and allows you to apply for a permanent resident permit after 33 months if you meet certain requirements.
Living in Munich
All work and no play will make any developer dull. Fortunately, Munich offers the best work-life balance and highest quality of life of any city in Germany.
The city is a vibrant cultural hub with many festivals and other events happening throughout the year. It has a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene, although that does all come at a price: Bavaria’s capital has the highest cost of living in the country.
|Monthly public transport pass
|Internet subscription (8mbps)
|Lunch in the city centre
|Beer in a local beer hall
Housing, food and entertainment may be pricey, but there are also plenty of free things to do in Munich. The city is littered with parks and recreational areas where you can walk, picnic and even swim during the summer months. Its relatively small population also means these spaces seldom feel crowded.
Munich’s position also opens up the opportunity for inexpensive regional travel. You can easily plan a day visit to the Bavarian Alps or Salzburg. A weekend trip to Vienna, Prague or Zurich are all easily manageable too.
As with any city, there are a few things to know when you first arrive in Munich:
- Stores – including supermarkets – are closed on Sundays, but you can visit state-run museums in the city for just €1.
- Always carry a few Euros in cash. Like most other places in Germany, most independent stores and outlets prefer cash over card payments.
- Bavaria is the home of beer in Germany and they take it seriously. Try a Helles or Weiss, and remember to leave the noagerl (last sip) in your glass.
- The weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared. A crisp winter morning can turn into a warm afternoon, and summer days can be punctuated by sudden downpours.
- Expat city guide for Munich
- Travel/tourist guide for Munich
- Guide to Software Development in Munich 2022
- Guide to Relocating & Working in Munich
- Guide to Working in Munich
- Income tax calculator
- Cost of Living in Munich
- Eventbrite Munich Science and Tech Events
- Eventil Tech Events In Munich
- Founder Institute Munich Startup Events
- Bits & Pretzels Networking Week
- Meetup - an event search tool that can be used for software-focused events in Munich (as well as other kinds of events)