German recruitment market improving
Like many of its neighbours in Western Europe, Germany is experiencing a steady economic recovery after the global downturn, which is in turn leading to an increase in recruitment activity.
According to the most recent Global Snapshot by Antal International, 41% of German companies were hiring this summer, with 44% planning to hire over the next quarter. Although 24% were also firing staff, this figure was expected to drop to 19% - again pointing to a slow but steady improvement in the jobs market.
Finance, pharma & technology experiencing growth
With business picking up and budgets increased for both new staff and new projects, there is once again a demand for professionals across the board in Germany. Those job seekers with two to three years onwards of relevant experience are the candidates in strongest demand, as they’re able to bring fresh ideas to the table while hitting the ground running.
Finance is one area requiring more people – especially accountants and financial controllers in both the technology and pharmaceutical / medical devices arenas. Within the clinical pharmaceutical market, data managers and clinical researchers are also in strong demand. Technology is another area experiencing strong growth, with requirements for software developers and also sales people with a technology background.
Engineering sector biting back after recession
One of the most adversely affected sectors during the downturn was engineering – many projects were put on hold or scrapped altogether due to budget constraints.
However, now that the recovery is underway many projects have once again been given the green light and companies are looking to hire the people for them. Engineers in research and development are also in demand as organisations look into new ways to boost sales.
Salaries improving, sales skills in demand
An inevitable consequence of the upturn is that salaries have once again started to improve. With more vacancies now on the market, German professionals have become more willing to move positions and are applying for several jobs at any one time. This has led to more competition for the best candidates and subsequently a 5 – 8% rise in salaries.
With economic conditions improving, many businesses in Germany are setting up new business units, leading to an increased need for experienced business development sales people and more generally professionals with strong account management skills. The ability to multi-task and being able to up-sell to existing clients are other skills that are very much required of current job seekers.
German companies looking to expand internationally
As well as new business units, many companies in Germany are looking to expand internationally too, both into Europe and for areas such as exporting, into China. This expansion coupled with the fact that Germany attracts many British companies, means that languages are another key skill required for new hires.
For anyone involved in business in China, in particular finance controllers, Mandarin is in strong demand; otherwise German, English plus one other language is preferred for many employers. However, it’s not just the language skills that are important – having German work experience is also key for those job seekers who aren’t native to the country, to ensure that they have the cultural knowledge and fit required to work effectively in the organisation.
The rest of 2010 looks positive for the German jobs market, with more organisations looking to recruit as conditions continue to improve.