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27/06/2006Unemployed German graduates head to India
Germany may be trying to attract highly-skilled Indian immigrants to boost its knowledge industries, but for some Germans the direction of travel goes the other way. We meet recent German business graduates who have gone to India to find work - and get away from the 'lousy mood' at home.
Hello? I was wondering if you could send us some more unemployed Germans
Germany's Federal Labour Office has already placed three German economists with Evalueserve, a business consultancy in Gurgaon, near New Delhi and the company now plans to expand the pilot project.
In the mood for work
Ten-hour workdays are normal for the German "guest workers," who sometimes even put in 14 for salaries that no university graduate would lift a finger for in Germany. But the Germans say they are content in India, where a booming economy has generated a general mood of excitement.
Marcel Lee, Andrea Demsic and Marita Birschke are the names of the young Germans at Evalueserve, which carries out market research for corporate clients worldwide.
All three are highly-motivated graduates with degrees in economics or business administration. And all three were unable to find suitable jobs in Germany - or any jobs at all.
It's not all about money
Their net salaries, slightly under EUR 530 a month, are miserable by German standards but they are being handsomely rewarded with experience, which they hope will boost their chances when they re-enter the German job market.
Lee, a Berliner, began studying business administration at the age of 18, graduated at 22, and served in the German army for a year. "Then I sat down and applied for a lot of jobs but prospects didn't look good in Germany," he said.
Lee finally got a job offer from a South Korean engineering firm, and also one from Evalueserve. He chose the Indian company because of its "world-class customers." Having arrived on a six-month contract, he is still in Gurgaon more than a year later. "I'll take my time returning," Lee said. "It's not a long-term solution, but I like it a lot."
Headhunting unemployed Germans
The booming Indian economy offers opportunities for young Germans
Evalueserve used to take on Germans only as student interns. "Unemployed German graduates coming to us is a new phenomenon," he said.
It was Siemons who turned to Germany's Federal Labour Office in his search for German workers. "We've had a lot of success with them," he remarked. "And we see that we can generate more demand from our clients on the basis of this success." Evalueserve now plans to "rapidly expand" the project, he added.
Everyone's a winner
Ashish Gupta, chief operations officer of Evalueserve's India operations, said everyone had benefited from the company's use of foreigners. In addition to the Germans and some 1,100 Indian staffers, Evalueserve also employs people from France, Spain, South America, South Korea, China and Turkey.
"We work a lot with companies that aren't from the English- speaking world," Gupta said, pointing out that knowledge of both the clients' mother tongue and culture was important. "German clients simply feel much more comfortable speaking with a German," he said.
The on-the-job experience acquired in India helped many of Evalueserve's foreign employees get good positions in their homelands, Gupta noted.
Good on the CV
Demsic can see why. A stay abroad and "intercultural competence" looks good on a curriculum vitae, and returnees come back with job experience, she said.
Demsic, 29, was unable to find a suitable job in Germany after finishing her studies in Jena. She began working for Evalueserve in mid-April, and was followed not long afterwards by Birschke, a 30- year-old from Wuerzburg.
"The German job market is exasperating," Birschke said. "People without prior experience have little chance."
"If you set your sights lower, you can find a job in Germany," Demsic conceded. "But I didn't study economics for that."
Another benefit of coming to India, she said, was getting away from the "lousy mood" back home. "In contrast to Germany, things are really happening here," she said. "There's no time to complain."
27 June 2006
Copyright DPA with Expatica 2006
Subject: German job market, German graduates, Germans working in India
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