Language barriers not as high as expected

Although there is an extreme lack of experts, particularly in small and medium-sized hightech entities in Germany, the possibilities of recruiting such people from neighbouring countries are not sufficiently made use of. The main reason for this is the fear of language barriers. This fact was revealed by the “Managing Mobility Matters 2006« study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which was presented in Lille (France) yesterday.

In particular Irish companies are very open-minded towards job-seekers from abroad. More than 80 percent of Irish companies surveyed said that foreign staff was easily to be integrated into the work force, and more than 40 percent think that foreign staff work harder than home-grown people. The Irish know what they are talking about given that over the last years Ireland has attracted particularly many workers from abroad and integrated them successfully.

The evaluation by German companies is just the opposite. Only 10 percent of these say that foreign people could be immediately integrated and again only ten percent believe that they work harder than Germans. Languague barriers are considered to be particularly problematic. Almost 90 percent of German companies questioned said that language problems is one of the obstacles to integration. Only the Swedes (94 Prozent) considered this aspect to be even more problematic.

Of course, the fear of language problems is also shared by job seekers. However, this kind of problems is not on top of their list as is assumed by German companies willing to recruite foreigners. Most potential employees (40 %) mentioned personal reasons as the main integration problem. Language problems only come second at quite a distance with 19 percent.

PwC´s “Managing Mobility Matters 2006« study is based on the questioning of 445 European companies from 13 EU member states and Switzerland and was supported by the EU Commission. The complete study is available for free-of-charge download. GERMAN