Career Prospects


© Matthias Heyde / Fraunhofer

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft offers exciting career development opportunities for junior scientists. Graduates with a degree in an engineering discipline or any of the natural sciences are afforded an ideal environment in which to qualify for responsible positions in industry.

Application-oriented research work and project activities prepare talented young scientists for the demands of the modern business world. 80 percent of staff who leave the organization move on to highly qualified jobs in industry.

A key element of staff development at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is professional and personal continuing education. Institute staff are offered the opportunity to pursue postgraduate work leading to a doctorate.

Why Work for Fraunhofer?

Germany has a very rich and diverse research landscape and offers scientists from all over the world an excellent research environment.

A recent national survey among university graduates with first job experience featured Fraunhofer as the top ranking employer in engineering. Young professionals rated Fraunhofer as the organization which offers the most challenging jobs, very good personal development prospects and the necessary balance between work and private life.

What is Fraunhofer able to offer?

What is Fraunhofer able to offer?

  • a unique focus on applied research. Fraunhofer provides the opportunity to turn scientific research results into practical applications.

  • interdisciplinary exchange of scientific knowledge

  • cooperation in international projects and networks

  • exceptional subject variety, wide-ranging responsibilities

  • excellent career prospects upon subsequent employment in industry

  • modern working-time regulations and work models

  • good opportunities for further training and advancement within the institutes

  • promotion and support of staff when planning to start up a company

Scientific achievement and practical relevance are not mutually exclusive –

in fact, in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, they are mutually dependent. Scientific precision is a prerequisite when defining optimal solutions for technical and organizational problems, while practical applications only serve to increase staff motivation. And the close organizational ties that exist between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and nearby universities additionally ensure Fraunhofer’s scientific endeavors are of the highest international standard.
It therefore goes without saying that a purely scientific career is also open to former Fraunhofer staff. Many individuals who have spent time at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft move on to responsible research and teaching positions in universities or other research institutions.

Fraunhofer very popular with students

The Universum Student Survey 2013








»For which employer would you most like to work?«

Source: Universum Communications

Between October 2012 to March 2013, Universum surveyed 22,714 students from a total of 135 higher education establishments, all at varying stages of study in the following disciplines:

Economics: 39 %
Engineering: 25 %
Natural science: 12 %
Information technology: 12 %
Humanities: 12 %

The students were asked to choose up to 5 companies from a list of 130.

Qualification for industry

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is particularly effective when it comes to qualifying up-and-coming technical and scientific specialists for positions in industry:

  • The organization’s scientific work is of the highest quality owing to the proximity of higher education establishments and links with members of the international research elite.

  • Application-oriented activities and involvement in projects afford the best possible preparation for professional life.

  • International facilities and contacts guarantee valuable exchanges of experience.

  • Cooperation with many and varied companies and institutions – including in the form of joint projects and consortiums – expands the professional spectrum.

  • Positions of autonomy and responsibility, entrepreneurial thinking, team-oriented working practices and a policy of promoting strong social and communication skills all equip staff extremely well for later management roles.

Industry values these qualities and experiences in new entrants. The majority of staff who choose to leave the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft go on to assume responsible positions in industry.

These days, anyone seeking to join a commercial enterprise will be proud to highlight their professional experience at Fraunhofer on their application. This will work to their advantage, because Fraunhofer enjoys an outstanding reputation in both industry and commerce. People who have spent time working at Fraunhofer will be credited not only with scientific excellence, but also a pragmatic and problem-oriented approach to work and a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience.

Recruiters lend particular weight to the practical relevance of all the scientific work undertaken in Fraunhofer Institutes. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is no place for solitary individuals who are happiest working in splendid isolation – we set great store by teamwork, customer proximity and flexibility.

Fraunhofer needs managers

Notwithstanding its flat hierarchical structure, team-oriented approach to work and highly-cooperative environment, Fraunhofer needs managers who will rise to the challenges presented by an extensive and eclectic range of activities. In the first instance, we will always offer existing members of staff the opportunity to assume this kind of responsibility. Experience within the organization equips individuals particularly well for leadership positions, and long-standing cooperation helps us to identify potential high-flyers, encourage their development and grow them into this new role.
Sometimes, however, we do have to look outside the organization – for example, if a new field of technology has to be expanded rapidly and up-and-coming internal staff are unable to cover the requirement. Potential candidates for positions such as Departmental Head or Institute Director will generally have both outstanding scientific qualifications and experience of high-level responsibility in industry. We always seek to ensure that new Institute Directors are able not only to take on the Chair of a university, but also demonstrate the management experience and networking abilities essential to successful leadership of an institute.

Entrepreneurial training

Spin-offs welcome

Fraunhofer’s trademark application-oriented training and pro-business attitude will often awaken in members of staff the desire to develop a technical innovation into a business idea and then market it themselves. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is keen to further such processes and actively supports them, since they provide another effective means of achieving its primary goal – the transfer of innovations and know-how from science to industry.

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