Many German companies are facing a tight labor market for employees with critical software engineering skills and are looking at the Silicon Valley layoffs as a great opportunity to recruit top talent.
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The U.S. West Coast has always been a major destination for ambitious software engineers eager to travel to in hopes of finding better-paying tech jobs there. However, massive layoffs in the tech industry have created hiring opportunities for German companies.
They cut jobs, we hire,” said Rainer Zugehoer, chief people officer at Cariad, the software subsidiary of automaker Volkswagen. We have hundreds of open positions to fill in the U.S., Europe and China.”
Google parent company Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook parent company Meta announced a combined total of nearly 40,000 layoffs due to fears of inflation and a worsening recession. Germany has one of the world’s most aging populations and a huge workforce gap, with 137,000 IT jobs currently open, according to IT industry group Bitkom.
The German government is simplifying immigration rules and using the promise of easy access to citizenship to attract potential migrants with key skills. Judith Gerlach, Germany’s Bavarian state minister for digitalization, said in a LinkedIn message to those recently laid off, “I invite you to Bavaria.”
With the euro nearly equal in value to the dollar, few European companies can offer salaries comparable to the hundreds of thousands of dollars offered by their California counterparts, but some hope cheaper health care and a lower cost of living compared to hot spots like San Francisco will help.
Added Gerlach, “Did I mention Oktoberfest?” Munich’s famous Oktoberfest may be attracting new unemployed people. But some are skeptical, with Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder pointing out that Germany is not only competing with other countries for the best talent, but also with the home countries of that talent.
German bureaucracy may be another challenge: Many companies have already reported months of delays in scheduling appointments for new employees in order to obtain work permits.
Diana Stoleru of Berlin-based startup Lendis says, “For most people, Germany is extremely bureaucratic, especially if they don’t speak German.”