Hiring Motivated Professionals & Graduates
“When the number of STEM professionals (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) grows, then the innovation strength of the heavily export-oriented German economy will increase, too.” That is the core statement of the report “STEM and the Business Model Germany,” published by the German Economic Institute.
Sounds logical, doesn’t it: If the most qualified professionals work at your company, progress and innovation will flourish and keep you one step ahead of the competition. The reality, however, looks different. In April this year, for example, the German newspaper Die Welt reported that “according to the industry body ZVEI, the electronics industry is currently short by up to 50,000 employees – ranging from engineers to software developers to logistics personnel and other specialized professionals.” The IT sector association Bitkom moans that an additional 55,000 jobs are currently vacant due to a lack of computer specialists.
So how do German companies find (and keep) experienced professionals and motivated graduates when they are already under pressure because of the high wage level? These days, well-educated European employees can easily relocate within the EU and so shift the focus of their work and life to a country that’s more accommodating to their needs and desires. And it is precisely this relocation opportunity that should, in fact, reduce the skills shortage in times of modernization and globalization. But it doesn’t because only a few companies take advantage of it.
In my work with businesses as a strategic consultant, I experience time and again that a lack of cultural understanding and English language skills have a tremendously negative effect on the success of those businesses. And how can it not? When a German management team sits around a table with their European colleagues and goes absolutely quiet because they can’t communicate their ideas and strategies, that’s the moment they lose out in the competition for the smart and creative employees they so yearn for.
Long-term innovation strength requires more than process optimization and HR's quarterly draw of the best “suggestion for improvement" email from staff. Ongoing innovation that secures stable business growth needs, at its core, a company culture that embraces diversity – in languages, backgrounds, and know-how – as an opportunity. And this openness, this understanding needs to be communicated when you advertise a vacant position or head-hunt experienced professionals in your industry.