German culture: masculine and orderly
To successfully hire a German employee, business would be smart to fully embrace and understand the German (business) culture. Germany is often associated with a strong sense of hierarchy, based on observations during meetings, where directors or CEO’s often have their decisions ready prior to any discussion within the actual meeting. This turns out not to be true, according to research of organisational psychologist Geert Hofstede.
Hofstede sees a duality in the Germany culture. On one hand he states it is performance-oriented and ‘masculine’, and on the other hand he describes the overall attitude as ‘not very festive’. Apparent work-ethic seems more important than a joyful life, and politeness generally wins its battle against affection. In part one of the Germany Series we go further into detail with regards to Hofstede’s findings.
Germans are generally also very systematical in their approach; they are very well-organised and emphasise planning over improvisation. Before projects get off the ground, every detail is usually planned by multiple departments and various personnel. The director will eventually decide – but not as some type of ruler, as part of a team.
When it comes to hiring German employees, a preference for a well-structured work-environment and work-structure can play a big role. A strict protocol that is clear for all parties involved is generally preferred. Assume that for a German a deal is a deal and a promise is a promise. This all may seem rather rigid to most, but it also means you would get a solid and serious person.
German employee: fond of a well-paid job
Most Germans are not looking for a new job, according to the European Recruitment Dashboard. However, half of them do keep an eye out for new job-ads. The majority of Germans would be open to switch jobs, but would rather stay with his or her current employer. If you would like for a German employee to move to your enterprise, you will have to make both the switch and your company as attractive as possible.
‘So how would I go about doing that?’, is the logical next question. The most important reason behind switching jobs is simple: a better salary. Furthermore: the option to work at home, flexible hours and the opportunity to pursue career opportunities are important.
Germans also view a sense of job-security and a manageable workload as essential. The contents of the job is regarded as less important, interestingly enough, as it is viewed as the second most important thing in the neighbouring country of the Netherlands.
German recruitment channels
Just as the German employee differs from those in other European countries, the recruitment channels also differ. A noteworthy detail is the fact that newspapers still hold a prominent position when it comes to recruitment and selection in Germany. LinkedIn is less important than in other countries and employment agencies are extremely rare.
German companies reportedly spend three billion euros on job advertisements, of which nearly 20% goes to printed press. Newspapers in particular are a popular medium. All leading newspapers, such as Die Welt, the Rheinische Post and the Hamburger Morgenpost are regularly filled with job advertisements, with Saturday’s edition being the most popular.
TIP: Keep the principle of non-discrimination in mind during the application process, particularly while writing the initial job ad. Do not explicitly ask for a man or a woman. When it is evident that the principle of non-discrimination is breached, the employer has to pay a compensation claim to the party involved.
Job sites are immensely popular in Germany. According research done by online-recruiting.com in 2014, a staggering 89% of recruiters use job sites to place an ad. However, keep in mind that these are the most recent numbers available – it may have changed over the course of the last years. But even though it may have changed, all indicators point to a strong position for ‘job-boards’ as a medium to recruit and select.
Stepstone and Monster.com are the most popular job sites in Germany, according to recruitment and selection agency Robert Half. Xing.com (the German competitor of LinkedIn), Kimeta (a meta search-engine) and Indeed are all ranked relatively high. LinkedIn only comes in at sixth place. Staufenbiel (for students, recent graduates and young professionals with a maximum of three years of work-experience) and Jobbörse der Arbeitsagentur, the official job site of the employment office round off the top 10.
TIP: People who are actively looking for a new job can easily be reached through generic job-boards like Stepstone. However: due to the extremely low unemployment rate (less than 5% in October of 2018, and gradually declining), this group of people is relatively small. Latent job-seekers require more attention. Post jobs and try to use ‘employer branding’ via Google, niche-sites, communities and social media. Especially when attempting to reach a younger audience, social media have proven to be very useful.
Employment agencies and recruitment and selection agencies are not very popular, as per the the Global Talent Acquisition Monitor of Intelligence Group (GTAM, 2018). According to the GTAM, only 5% of job-seeking Germany uses an agency, compared to a European average of just under 10%. Leading European countries in this category is the Netherlands, with 17%.
Whenever the word ‘trade fair’ is mentioned, ‘Germany’ is always nearby. A staggering two-thirds of all international trade fairs are held in Germany. Besides attracting many international visitors, the country also hosts its fair share of national or regional fairs. These fairs provide ample opportunity for employers to reach potential employees.
Branche organisation AUMA has accumulated a good, although incomplete, database of trade fairs. Within this database, through a nifty search function, you can easily find the names of trade fairs, trade fair organisations, branches, locations and so forth. For more insight on smaller, regional trade fairs, the M+A Expodatabase provides an excellent solution.
A few popular trade fairs:
The Connecticum is an annual career fair, with a main focus on students, recent graduates and young professionals. This three-day trade fair is held at Berlin-Tempelhof airport, with three exhibition halls and approximately 350 companies from Germany, Europe and Asia.
This two-day trade fair is held yearly at eleven locations in Kaiserslautern, Aachen, Bochum and Berlin. The goal is to provide students and recent graduates with useful information to get started in the business world. Moreover, students and graduates looking for internships or jobs can come into contact with the right companies.
The renowned two-day Absolventenkongress is held every year in Cologne, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Berlin and is also focused on students, graduates and young professionals. This job fair is centered around students of all disciplines that are set to graduate in the near future, but with a main focus on technicians and business economists. Since 2012, additional regional events have been organised in the cities mentioned above. The program for the trade fair can be download via deDownload, the homepage of the Alumni Congress.
The Akademika is a job fair, held twice a year in Nuremberg and Augsburg, in the South of Germany. It is organised for students, recent graduates and young professionals who are looking for both internship and job opportunities. Amongst the most popular attendees are computer scientists, engineers and economists.
Stay tuned for the remaining two parts of our exclusive four-part Germany Series. If you haven’t read part one, click here.