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Engineers feel badly represented
My reader (for privacy reasons I do not want to give his name), is angry, because VDI is increasingly the employers rather than the (mostly hired) engineers. Therefore, he calls for a change of course of the VDI and wants to quit after 14 member years from the VDI. As a justification he writes: In particular, the attitude of the VDI on the alleged shortage of skilled workers increasingly hits 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 aim of gaining a SUPPLY of skilled workers through immigration in order to be able to push engineering salaries across the board. Unemployed professionals, who may not be 1000% of the employer's wishes, then fall to the social funds and thus the 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 with the shortage of skilled workers
Marco Dadomo, spokesman for the VDI, responded promptly last week and commented on the allegations point by point. In a eMail from 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 considers it its duty to draw attention to the current situation and prospects in the future. In the coming 10 years about 500.000 engineers will leave the German labor market for reasons of age. If one takes the current number of undergraduate students into the engineering sciences as the basis and takes into account the constant drop-out rate of just under 50% for years, then these gaps can only be closed with good luck. The existing and continuing additional demand for engineering professionals, 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 would not always draw attention to it. The concern journalism, that the fate of individuals, which is gladly applied by some media, does not correspond to reality. VDI director Dr. Willi Fuchs has now given Spiegel online an interview that disproves many statements on the supposedly nonexistent lack of skilled workers.
- 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 about this answer is the statement that the DIW has repeatedly contradicted itself on the subject. I am not aware of that and also in a public discussion with Mr. 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
In any case, my readers have looked a little closer. He knows very well the difference between the current situation and a potential future shortage of skilled workers. And he has a very concrete, interesting proposal for the VDI: he should let his members 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.
But they are doing in Germany for years * not * or only minimal (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 of the lack 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 you ask your members online on your website which position the readers are more likely to 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 that would also be a chance for the VDI to present itself at the height of the times, especially as the Internet demands more and more of grassroots 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 regardless of what numbers are right now, the VDI would do well if it continues to be taken seriously as an advocacy of engineers seriously, to take the discomfort of its members seriously and deal with it, instead of calming down. Otherwise, single exits could quickly lead to mass exits. I just remember the beautiful side, with the o2 customers give exactly against this single case policy successfully campaigned.
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