German skilled workers stranded in America: Applicants want to return but can not find a job

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As I wrote last week, I was recently at the European Career Fair in Boston - and surprisingly enough, could not save myself from inquiring from professionals. Career Europa03

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Here writes for you:

Antje Rabenalt Antje RabenaltAntje Rabenalt is Interim Human Resources Manager.


The companies are in the minority here

Because my name plate is white, and I am clearly in the minority. White are those who represent companies or have at least information from the labor market in Germany and are thus much sought after as a conversation partner. Red, those who are interested in this information.

This is, for example, Tom, the neurobiologist who specializes in pediatric intensive care and came specifically from Houston. "How about over there, are pediatricians needed?" He asks me. He would like to go back, but it is difficult to find a suitable job.

Where can you find a suitable place?

Where should he search? Once he had got through, one Casting to send. But he was not invited. He did not get a cancellation either. Somehow, he felt he was not very welcome.

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Gernot, the Pennsylvania chemist, also wants to go back. His wife, an American, is a dental assistant. She is pregnant. Raising children is expensive in America. You would like to go back. "Of course to Berlin," he says. He too was in Berlin for two semesters before studying the world.

“What is the chemical industry doing in Berlin?”

The last thing he heard is that Schering no longer exists. Today he is programming, and actually he is also a physicist and would like to do something completely different. Like the job opportunities for his wife. “What are they doing and whether the chemical industry is still so good with childcare in Berlin? He wants to know.

That he is the specialist that was meant in the speeches and that we have one in Germany in Berlin? ” Complain about lack, that has not yet reached him. Not even with his friends. They are engineers, natural scientists, doctors, but also financial experts and economists.

They want to go back but can not!

Also they want to go back if they could. After three hours I'm hungry, but the buffet has long since cleared and the politician again on the way to the airport. My neck is dry from talking, partly with 4 to 5 people at the same time at one of the standing tables.

At some point I will write my contact details on paper and promise to answer. "Send me job ads," they say when they say goodbye. "I do," I promise and cannot understand it.

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Is the German middle class ready for the Global Learner?

Highly qualified German specialists do not find a job? What's wrong here? In the Internet age is it difficult to find job offers? Information about industries and labor market in Germany to get impossible? This is all solvable. Or?

Stop, there's another problem. Because the question is: Are small and medium-sized businesses in Germany ready to employ this generation of “global learners”? You are confident and used to working in multicultural structures.

You know the performance and success of printing as a matter of course. Changes do not frighten them. In short, they are the Generation Y. In intercultural competence teams they demand feedback and have learned to give it. Communicative, networked and openly looking for meaningfulness in work, not job titles.

In Germany you have to start small

Like Sophie, she is a virologist and would like to bring her experience to Germany. "Germs in a hospital don't have to be," she knows. There are systems, hygiene standards and many new developments, but this enthusiasm quickly put the brakes on.

It was two years ago that she flew to Germany for an interview at her own expense. You have to start small. The waiting list for the desired position was full of colleagues who had been working here for some time. Frank, the mechanical and electrical engineer, nods in agreement and adds: "And if it isn't, then we're overqualified."

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Anxiety to place responsibility in young hands?

The fact that companies are applying to the applicants, granting relocation allowances and take over travel expenses, is still alien to many companies. Traditional customs, looking at documents, and demanding complete CVs are, it seems, as widespread as the fear of giving responsibility to young people.

“Sometimes I think they don't know how to deal with me. I lead a team here and I'm responsible, ”says Sophie, who works for a pharmaceutical company. In America, no intermediate reports on work performance are written and references with names and telephone numbers are only given on request. The vita is called resumee ”and has no photo. For many HR managers in Germany this is still a problem and they prefer to do without the candidate.

It's hard to come back

After three days, the last Berlin postcard is distributed, the Berlin banner is stowed again. I'll meet Anna again.

"It's easy to walk, but it's hard to come back, I didn't expect that," she says in a tight voice. The days of the ECF left hope and homesickness alike.

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  1. Ralf

    Exciting. But America is “far” away. In our perception, it is already the case within Germany that many are looking back and want to work again in the east, Lower Bavaria or other regions that are supposedly not so attractive!

    • Simone Janson

      In plain language, does not mean a shortage of skilled workers?
      In all popular Berlin you find also very difficult (well-paid) jobs, already in the journalism, the provincial corpus predicted better.

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