Thousands of employees from Germany’s Daimler trim hours to save jobs

Thousands of Daimler employees have agreed to cut their hours and give up bonuses this year to save jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, the German carmaker said Tuesday.

Thousands of employees from Germany's Daimler trim hours to save jobs
A Daimler employee in Sindelfingen, Baden-Württemberg on April 30th. Photo: DPA

The Mercedes-Benz manufacturer was already grappling with a painful restructuring set to include a major jobs cull before the pandemic sent car sales plummeting.

Daimler said in a statement it had reached a deal with German unions that would see administrative employees and staff in other non-factory areas such as logistics, work two hours less a week and take a corresponding pay cut for one year from October 1st.

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Daimler, which employs nearly 300,000 people worldwide, did not say how many employees in Germany would be affected by the deal.

Daimler's German workers have also agreed to forego their annual profit-sharing bonus this year, which amounted to almost €600 per person in 2019, the statement added.

“We want to thank the workforce for their important, temporary contribution to overcoming this crisis together,” Daimler personnel chief Wilfried Porth said.

Workers' representative Michael Brecht called the agreement “a clear contribution to securing jobs and stabilising our financial situation”.

Daimler announced in 2019 that at least 10,000 jobs would be culled as part of the group's efforts to save €1.4 billion by 2022, mainly through voluntary redundancies and early retirement schemes.

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But German media have reported that number could climb as high as 20,000 as Daimler, like other automakers, faces fallout from weeks of coronavirus lockdowns that halted production lines and kept dealerships closed.

The group posted last week a loss of nearly two billion euros in the second quarter of 2020 owing to the pandemic's impact.

Although sales began to recover as countries eased lockdown measures, Daimler chief executive Ola Kallenius warned that the coming “months and years will be a challenge”.

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How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck!