Saturday, September 15, 2012

Best Work Opportunities: Germany

From this week's mailbag:

Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:21 PM    Subject: [AATG-L] German language in Europe

Yesterday at the copying machine I ran into a colleague, a native-born Spaniard, who is on sabbatical this year but has just returned from Spain for an extended visit to campus. She asked me: "Guess
which language is booming in Europe right now?" When I had no ready answer. She smiled all over and said: "German!  --Really!"  She said, "Young Europeans are clamoring to learn German
because Germany is the only country with a strong economy and jobs." Then she gave the example of a German language school in Valencia [southern Spain] which she passed on course sign-up day. It had long lines winding around city blocks. 

Sounds real to me.  Below read about the 2,500 unfilled positions in Baden Württemberg, and what they are doing about it.  (And what is hampering the tens of thousands of applicants. -- 3 guesses!) 


Crisis-hit southern Europeans rush to learn German

By Jürgen Bätz Associated Press / March 6, 2012 
 BERLIN—Spaniards, Portuguese and others from countries hit hard by the debt crisis are flocking to learn German in hopes of getting jobs in Europe's biggest and strongest economy, according to data obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday.
Figures from Germany's culture and language promotion agency, the Goethe Institute, show that people in southern Europe -- where unemployment is high, particularly among the young -- are clamoring to learn German. Other official data show immigration to Germany from Spain, Greece and Portugal is up sharply.
The number of Spaniards seeking to learn German with their local branch of the Goethe Institute rose by a staggering 35 percent in 2011, to 9,000 from 6,500 the year before. Neighboring Portugal saw a 20 percent increase to 2,230 students...
The rise in interest in German is significant in that it shows where jobseekers expect the best work opportunities.  The Germany economy grew a robust 3 percent last year and unemployment has dropped to its lowest level in almost two decades. Spain, by contrast, is sliding back into recession as unemployment hits new records above 20 percent.
"The prospects of getting a job in those countries are miserable, with youth unemployment of 40 to 50 percent," said Herbert Brücker, a migration expert with Germany's Institute for Employment Research.  Many firms in Germany are searching to hire skilled professionals, but a language barrier often hinders successful recruitment.
"Employers are rather demanding when it comes to requiring German language skills," Bruecker said.
Take the example of Schwäbisch-Hall, a prosperous city of 37,000 in Baden-Württemberg, a southwestern state that is home to industrial giants like carmaker Daimler AG and successful small and medium-sized businesses. The companies need skilled workers, but supply in Germany is tight. To help, the city invited a group of journalists from Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain to a reporting trip this year to cover the issue. The move resulted in more than 10,000 job applications pouring in from Portugal alone, "and the number keeps rising," city spokesman Robert Gruner said.
"They have sent them to every email address they could find on our website, it's incredible," he told the AP.
But the regional job office, which currently has about 2,500 vacancies listed, has found that most applicants share a common problem. "Unfortunately only about five percent have knowledge of German, which makes getting them a job here significantly more difficult," Gruner said.
Those seeking jobs have apparently realized this weakness as well, leading to the boom in numbers at language schools like the Goethe Institute, named after the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 
In Italy, the agency's number of students was up by 14 percent to 4,300, followed by Greece and France with an increase of ten and eight percent respectively.
Worldwide, the number of German language students with the Goethe Institute rose by 7.5 percent to about 235,000, according to the figures.  Some 36,000 of those came to Germany to study with the Goethe Institute here. Of those coming from within the European Union, the number of Spaniards was up 43 percent on the year, while Greeks saw a 22 percent increase and Italians 17 percent.
"Most of them are young people who are taking our classes," Goethe Institute head Klaus-Dieter Lehmann said late Tuesday following the figure's official release. "Not because they want to read Goethe or (Friedrich) Schiller in their original tongue, but because they want to improve their job chances." 

....For more immigration statistics:   Continued...

Barry Hatton in Lisbon and Daniel Woolls in Madrid contributed reporting.
Juergen Baetz can be reached on Twitter at


  1. Das is so interessant. Ich bin jetzt so gluecklich, das ich kann ein bisschen Deutsch sprachen. (Ich ben nur lernen, so ich kann nicht viel sprachen, aber ich habe ueben bin)

  2. Deutschland ist ein sehr gut Land. Ich weiss dass Deutschland ein gut Wirtschaft hat und ist ein sehr schön Land. Ich bin auch sehr glücklich dass ich ein bicchen Deustch sprechen kann. Wenn ich nicht ein Job in America finden kann, dann ich kann nach Deutschland flogen und suchen da.

  3. This is one of the main reasons that i wanted to study the German language. There are many high paying jobs in Germany.

  4. This is cool because it shows how important the German Language is because I think people dont really think its as important as other languages like Spanish, when it really is.

  5. ich hoere mehr und mehr ueber Deutschland und seine gute Arbeit. meine Schwester ist in Deutschland studieren und sie wird viele Optionen haben, wenn sie bleiben. ich denke, dass diese Geschichte sehr gut ist.