Amid labour crunch, Germany taps skilled workforce laid off in Silicon Valley


New Delhi: Amid a very tight labour scenario and a continuous shortage of workers with key software engineering skills, a few German firms are looking at recruiting a significant number of those employees who have recently been laid off in Silicon Valley.

Rainer Zugehoer, Chief People Officer at Cariad, the software subsidiary of automaker Volkswagen simply says, “They fire, we hire.”

“We have several hundred open positions in the US, in Europe and in China,” he elaborates claiming it is an opportunity for German companies bogged down by shortage of staff to recruit top talent.

The US West Coast has always been the main destination for ambitious software engineers looking to work in the most elite corner of their profession, but the mass layoffs have created an abundance of jobseekers that Germany is eager to cash in on.

Hit by rising inflation and the prospect of recession, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook owner Meta have announced combined job cuts of nearly 40,000 staff.

Germany too is on the brink of recession, but its companies have grown more slowly in recent years and, in a country notorious for still handling business by fax, there are huge technology leaps waiting to be made.

Germany, with one of the world’s oldest populations, has huge holes in its labour force: according to IT industry group Bitkom, nearly 137,000 IT jobs remain vacant

The German government is simplifying immigration rules and dangling the prospect of easily-acquired citizenship to tempt skilled would-be immigrants, and regional authorities are pressing ahead.

“I would like to cordially invite you to move to Bavaria,” wrote Judith Gerlach, digitalisation minister in Germany’s wealthiest region on LinkedIn in a post addressed to those skilled workers who have recently been laid off.

Especially with the euro at dollar parity, few European companies pay salaries that compete with the hundreds of thousands of dollars on offer at California’s most successful companies, but some hope cheaper healthcare and lower costs of living compared to hotspots like San Francisco can help.

Senior staff at some German firms are sceptical, with Bitkom’s Bernhard Rohleder pointing out that Germany is competing not just with other countries for the most talented, but with potential recruiters in home countries too.

Germany’s fondness for red tape may well prove to be another challenge: companies are already reporting months-long delays in securing appointments for their new recruits to get work permits.

“Bureaucracy in Germany is utterly crippling for most highly-qualified workers when they first encounter it, especially if they don’t speak German,” said Diana Stoleru of Berlin startup Lendis.

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Amid labour crunch, Germany taps skilled workforce laid off in Silicon Valley
Amid labour crunch, Germany taps skilled workforce laid off in Silicon Valley
ASE News
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