German manufacturing firms are facing the similar labor shortage as America. Let’s look at how some of the firms are trying to overcome this shortage.
The most logical way to retain and attract new talent is to increase salaries. Given that German workers are already among the best-paid in the world, companies have little room for maneuvering. While the new government has increased the statutory minimum wage, the German employers are introducing new strategies.
A popular pandemic strategy around the world is for employers to offer more flexible work models. Bosch, an engineering conglomerate, is offering its workers pick one of 100 models of working hours. It offers job-sharing, where two people divvy up responsibilities so that each can work part- time, and not lose out on the opportunity to get promoted to management positions.
Employers are also advertising their concern for employees’ well-being, just like their other counter parts in the western world. Some of the German firms have taken it a step further. Bosch and Siemens, another industrial giant, both run day-care centers for employees’ offspring.
Bosch has invested in a health center, where employees have access to counselling, physiotherapy, a gym and a climbing wall. Another firm is offering workers virtual yoga classes, gym memberships, accounts at Headspace, a meditation app, and subsidized bike rentals. Another firm, Allianz lets staff take “focus time” where no meetings are scheduled, and its “global meeting etiquette” limits meetings to 25 or 50 minutes and allows for a break between calls.
German manufacturing firms known for their world-renowned training programs are offering free training and apprenticeship schemes. Companies are visiting local neighbourhoods located around factories, workshops and offices and encouraging teenagers to sign up for an apprenticeship. They are working with local technical universities, sending their employees to give lectures, and hold other events for students, while offering them internships and training. Allianz encourages employees to devote an hour of work time a week to take one of more than 10,000 courses, from graphic design to big data. In addition to its current apprenticeship programs, Siemens is investing heavily on additional training and retraining for its workers not only in Germany, but across its operations around the world.
All these efforts are paying off for the German firms and is helping them fill their vacancies.
Adapted from an article published in “The Economist “