By Jörg Kleis
We need 260,000 new people until 2060, and that is per year
A simple forecast shows why Germany needs more immigration. By 2060, without immigration and with constant labor market participation, labor supply will decrease by 16 million people. Even if people worked much more and longer, that would only cushion about a quarter of that decline. The lack of IT experts, mechatronics engineers and other technically trained people can not be remedied in any other way, says Matthias Meyer of Bertelsmann Foundation. In numbers this means 260,000 people until 2060 per year.
Our demographic development speaks a clear language
Most of these people will come from non-EU countries as migration cycles within the EU will slow down due to more local demand and better paid jobs in other European countries. This development is calling critics to the scene. They like to speak of alienation or of the loss of German identity – whatever that may be. They ignore demographic facts and birth rates, yet they want to maintain the same level of prosperity.
Breaking down prejudices on both sides
It is more goal-oriented and constructive to ask which opportunities a diverse Germany has to offer. In that regard reducing and overcoming prejudices and stereotypes continue to play a major role. This means prejudices against new people who have moved to Germany. Perhaps even more importantly, it includes the elimination of prejudices against Germans, which are often prevalent abroad. Here is where foreigners learn on the spot how Germans live, how their way of working and thinking is. They are then able to transport a positive image to their home country and establish a long-term connection with Germany. This is most likely to happen at the workplace.
A pluralistic society also creates space for international exchange, new insights into foreign cultures and mutual appreciation. Other perspectives, different life and experience backgrounds of immigrants mean a chance for Germans to develop their own culture towards a cosmopolitan society. Openness, cooperation and globality are positive values that correspond to our time. Sticking to a German national identity reflecting values from fifty years ago does not.
Valuable contribution to society
In addition to many cultural impulses, foreign skilled workers – contrary to many fears – also make a positive contribution to the German social security system. The overwhelming proportion of immigrants is now well-qualified. Accordingly, they generate part of the countrywide added value in their field of occupation, contribute to the tax revenue and make their contributions to the German pension system. Without them we will never be able to uphold the levels we are used to.
Good for Germany. But how is it for your company?
Selecting and hiring employees is about filling vacant positions with appropriate professionals bringing along expertise and personality. Origin should therefore play a secondary role. Companies considering recruiting outside of Germany should therefore compare the benefits of foreign professionals with the alleged efforts. In many cases, the obstacles are overestimated. Even if language barriers and cultural differences exist, every company should focus on what truly remains of overriding importance.
What kind of support do you want to offer especially for foreign professionals?
Many companies are not asking this question. The beginning at the company can be difficult if you start a new life in a foreign country and language barriers are still an issue. An important practical tip that we always like to share: Be open and frank in your job advertisement about how exactly you intend to support your new employee. For example, this can be through help apartment search assistance, leave or financial subsidy for a German language course, support in dealing with local authorities, 1-on-1 mentoring by a colleague in the company. The list goes on and on.
Is your company is looking for international employees? Can you identify with the described advantages of foreign workers? We are happy to be at your side and accompany you in the process of personnel recruitment and support of your business.