One of my readers, even an engineer with a well-paid job, recently asked the Association of German Engineers (VDI) for an opinion on the subject of professional defense. In his opinion, the VDI increasingly represents the interests of employers and no longer the interests of the engineers. Therefore, he now wants to leave the club and also move others to exit. Polemic aggravation or justified accusation? And does the VDI take seriously the threatening loss of members at all?
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Engineers feel badly represented
My reader (for reasons of data protection I do not want to name his name) is angry because VDI is increasingly the employer than the (mostly employed) engineers. He therefore calls for a change of course of the VDI and wants to leave the VDI after 14 member years. He wrote:
In particular, the attitude of the VDI on the alleged shortage of skilled workers is increasingly coming up to me and my engineering colleagues. Ever since the DIW study of November 2010, it has become increasingly clear that this is more likely to be a matter of large-scale employer opinion, ultimately with the goal of gaining an OVERNOVE of skilled workers through immigration in order to push engineering salaries across the board. Unemployed professionals, who may not be 1000% ig complies with the employer's wishes, then fall to the social funds and thus society to the burden [...] As soon as the VDI here corrected his attitude, I will re-join, until then I will sensitize all engineers from my personal environment and you also suggest a VDI exit.
The VDI remains a defendant
Marco Dadomo, press officer of the VDI, replied immediately last week and related to the accusations point by point. In an e-mail from the 04.01.2012 he writes:
- The VDI represents the interests of its members and by no means the interests of Company.
- The defendant is not an invention of the VDI or an employer's opinion. In the meantime, the DIW has repeatedly contradicted itself on this topic. The figures of the IW, Institute of the German Economy, which commissioned the VDI to draw up a monthly engineer's monitor, using the figures of the Federal Labor Agency as a basis, are scientifically sound and correspond to reality. 78.000 engineers are currently missing in Germany. The number of unemployed engineers has fallen to 18.370, and has thus reached a low level since records began.
- The VDI sees it as its duty to draw attention to the current situation and to the prospects in the future. In the coming 10 years, 500.000 engineers will leave the German labor market for reasons of age. If the current number of graduate students in the engineering sciences is taken as the basis and taking into account the constant dropout rate of just under 50% since years, these gaps can only be concluded with good luck. The existing and persistent additional need for engineers, especially in the areas of renewable energies, mobility or new technologies, is not taken into account. Before that you should not close your eyes and it would be fatal if the VDI did not always make it clear again. The journalism concerned, that is the fate of individuals, who are often used by some media, does not correspond to reality. VDI Director, Dr. In the meantime, Willi Fuchs has given an interview to Spiegel online that refutes many statements on the allegedly non-existent professional defenses.
- For example, the automotive industry is currently looking for thousands of new skilled workers. Obviously this demand can not be satisfied by the German labor market and the Federal Government facilitates the immigration of highly qualified people from other European countries - this is especially true for engineers.
Consider the subject in a differentiated way
What I personally found interesting in this answer is the statement that the DIW has repeatedly contradicted itself on the subject. This is not known to me and also in a public discussion with Dr. Dr. Brenke on the subject I have noticed nothing of contradictions.
What has become very clear, however, is that this complex issue is often considered too undifferentiated - and that it is necessary to look more closely at each case. Maybe this explains the alleged contradictions of the DIW? I would like to know more about this in this regard.
Proposal: Members should vote on the credibility of the arguments
Something more precisely looked at my readers. He knows very well the difference between the current situation and a future, potential professional deficit. And to this he has a very concrete, interesting proposal to the VDI: It should allow its members to vote on the credibility of the arguments:
I do not deny that * in the future * times a professional deficit could arise, against which * then * may also have something to do.
But * here and today * we have no shortage of skilled workers - otherwise wages and salaries would have to rise.
Do it but in Germany for years * not * or only minimally (adjusted for inflation). The allegedly scientifically founded numbers mentioned by you do not help any further. You say you represent the interests of the members (mostly employed engineers), and at the same time commission the IW (funded by business associations and companies) to produce statistics on skills shortages? What results do you expect there? The figures mentioned are increasingly being questioned in the reputable German press landscape (and not only by some troublemakers and exotics). Even the VDE considers the alarmism from a shortage of skilled workers for (quote) "completely exaggerated".
I would therefore suggest that:
In one of the next VDI-Nachrichten you give both sides again the opportunity to comment briefly on the alleged * present * shortage of skilled workers, eg Hr. Hundt / Sinn / Henkel / Hüther versus Karl Brenke / Joachim Moeller / Heinz-Josef Bontrup / Michael Schanz / Simone Janson. And then, on your site, you are asking your members what position the readers agree to. If more than 70% of readers consider the position of the IW / VDI to be correct, this certainly confirms the VDI in its current course and they would be assured of the support of their paying members. I think this would also be an opportunity for the VDI to present itself at the height of the times, especially as the Internet is increasingly demanding basic democratic developments (as many examples of the recent past have shown). Even if we do not quite agree on the matter, I appreciate that you took my letter seriously and that I received a quick answer. Thanks for that.
Only individual cases?
I'm curious to see how the discussion continues. In any case, I find the suggestion to publicly discuss the arguments open. This is long overdue by the widespread resentment among engineers. Even if the VDI, as in the answer here, likes to speak of individual cases and journalism: the fact is that a growing part of its members is dissatisfied with the policy of the association. That's why it looks a bit arrogant and from above.
Those who want to be taken seriously have to take their members seriously
And no matter what the figures are, the VDI would do well to continue to be taken seriously as an interest representation for engineers, to take the discomfort of its members seriously and to deal with it, rather than to make a difference. Otherwise, individual exits could be followed by mass expeditions. I just remember the beautiful side, with the o2 customers give exactly against this single case policy successfully campaigned.
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