The first at the desk in the morning, the last out the door in the evening – if you want to make a good impression with your boss, this is usually the way to go. Sometimes, however, that kind of commitment is just pretense, as a recent example in the USA shows. At one company, every third consultant regularly sneaks out early.
There have been several cases where the extensive surveillance of employees, especially in the retail sectors, has been discovered and in turn heavily criticised by the public. Most of the time, that harsh reaction to those cases are justified because the employers or leading employees obviously went too far. On one hand, it is understandable that leading employees should be able to control the employees' work, which the employer pays for. On the other hand, there are limits, some of them legal ones.
Studies about how happy candidates are with various recruiting processes are regularly done by reputable institutes. There are also online polls done by big job websites and the online section of big newspapers, although these cannot claim to be truly representative. One conclusion can be drawn from them, though: HR in Germany has two big problems: The whole process is experienced as increasingly impersonal, drawn out and unprofessional. Many job ads go into great detail when describing the company, but don't offer many specifics about the job itself. In several polls done in Germany over the last two years, 40% of those looking for a new job said that they had to wait up to six weeks for a first reaction to their application. On the other hand, using the possibilities of electronics, especially big company are starting to straight away send a standardized rejection letter to those candidates who have been deemed unsuited after a first perusal of incoming applications. To many candidates this comes across as rude.
Whenever the matter of how to enable young parents to have jobs as well as kids has been debated over the last few years, company-run kindergartens unfailingly came up. There are a number of positive examples that the various interest groups and of course the politically responsible minister can point to. There has been undoubtedly a trend at large companies to not only offer a cafeteria for their employees, but also child care for their offspring. These child-care establishments usually are easily up to par with those run by churches or the local government. The quality is closely monitored, and often even higher than for the average public child-care facility.
Birth rates have been in decline in Central Europe since the 1970s, which inevitably leads to an ageing population and resulting changes in society’s social structure; most prominently the legal pension fund. The decision for or against children has long since become more than a personal matter and now concerns all of society. Lawmakers are constantly trying to alleviate the financial cost that naturally comes from raising children in a bid to push birth rates.
One possibility discussed lately is a state subsidy toward childcare cost. The goal of this subsidy is to fully or in part reimburse young parents, especially young mother, who still do the lion’s share of child care in the families, for cost incurred by external childcare during normal working hours. This particular subsidy would be paid by the employer, and be free of taxes and social security. That way, the subsidy will full benefit the recipient parent. The employer would be saving money as well, because in contrast to a normal pay raise, there would be no employer’s contribution (currently about 20%) to social security.
Law makers picked this model for more than just social reasons:
- The subside would not be paid with tax-payers’ money, social security funds, or other public accounts, but would come from employers.
- Outside childcare enables the parent, still usually the mother, to return to work soon after the child’s birth. This is beneficial to society as a whole, because nowadays most young women are well educated and highly motivated, and badly needed in the labour market to keep the economy on the current high level.
- If both parents work, they will pay a lot more social security fees and taxes than families following the traditional roles with the father as the breadwinner and the mother keeping the house and side lining at best. This will more than make up for the treasury’s loss in taxes that the subsidy will incur.
- Given their on average high level of education, few women nowadays are content with being a mother and wife alone. An interesting job and career opportunities have become important for their personal happiness as well. This will also help to prevent strive within society. Another positive effect is that on average, marriages where both partners are happy with their jobs tend to be happier and last longer. That in turn then is positive for the children.
The following employee benefits for children who do not yet attend school are free of tax and social contributions:
- Refunds of kindergarten fees or the cost of a child minder or
- Subsidies paid toward those costs
- Free or subsidized child care in company-run kindergartens
- Fees and contributions paid by employers to child care facilities, which buy their employees a right to membership without having to go through the typical application process or waiting lists.
Source: §3 Nr. 33 EStG (Einkommenssteuergesetz)
Over the coming weeks, we will add more posts exploring different methods of support for working parents. […]
When the big scandals about corruption in Latin America and South East Asia involving German companies became public, even those who had not cared about such things before hurried to established so-called “compliance guidelines”. The obvious goal of this was to stop the widespread corruption during procurement and securing orders, especially in emerging countries. That 'tradition' had reached intolerable levels in some areas where it had been historically widespread before. However, in many cases it has now become impossible to even give small gifts to show appreciation to long-standing business contacts.
That you had better make sure of what you're getting into before committing yourself long-term is true in many cases, and of course applies to a company and employee agreeing on a work contract. Even though it's a given that this agreement is in no way meant to last forever, or nowadays even until retirement, both sides still expect to spend several years relying on each other and working together in a successful and work relationship.
It's been almost eight years now since the anti-discrimination law (AGG) has gone into effect. Since then, anyone suspecting discrimination in the work field can, among other things, take companies to court over it. The law and related guidelines aim to protect several groups who are often subtly disadvantaged in our society against discrimination. In the work place that included and includes especially women, even though looking at numbers of workers, they are even in a slight majority.
For roughly 15 years now the debate about minimum wages has been going on in various European countries, and in some countries of the European Union laws to that effect have been put into place. The main motivation and rationale of this is always fairness and social equality, achieved by a regularly adapted mandatory minimum wage. In Germany, minimum wage has been discussed on-and-off since the federal election campaign in 2005, first introduced by the Left Wing Party, and later picked up by the Social Democrats and the Green Party. The current grand coalition is planning to put into effect a minimum wage of EUR 8.50 per hour before 2016.
Some time ago we gave you a bunch of general advice about how to best prepare for and present yourself during a job interview. This time, we will look at very specific questions which you will most likely be confronted with, no matter what type or level job. Many questions are quite predictable, designed to help the HR people to get as thorough an impression as possible of the person they are talking to – you – in the short span of time available. Most candidates know that, and as a result most answers are unfortunately also just 'standard' and predictable.
How important is the local business aspect for a Human Resources Consultancy? During the initial talks with customers, but also occasionally from candidates, the question about where the company is located comes up quite regularly. Hence, it might be worthwhile to take a closer look at this.
Among job-seekers, assessment centers are not generally very popular. They are seen as stressful, exercises which usefulness isn’t always apparent, and a very one-sided examination of candidates by the company. Although they are not exactly popular with applicants, companies like to make use of assessment centers. The goal is to identify the one candidate in a group who best fits the company’s requirements. In a way, that’s no different than with a “normal” application process, but with greatly increased effort for both sides.
Among job-seekers, assessment centers are not generally very popular. They are seen as stressful, excercises which usefulness isn’t always apparent, and a very one-sided examination of candidates by the company. Although they are not exactly popular with applicants, companies like to make use of assessment centers. The goal is to identify the one candidate in a group who best fits the company’s requirements.
Whether for a manager or someone just starting out professionally, every employer is naturally interested in finding out how a prospective new employee has conducted themselves in the past. In Germany, everyone who leaves an employer is entitled to a qualified certificate of employment. Especially those just starting out in their career should make sure that they actually get that.
Xing, LinkedIn and the like are by now a constant part of business life. For many, those networks a plainly tools to stay in touch with colleagues and business partners. On the other hand, the profiles on those networks are always also a personal presentation, which headhunter and HR professionals like to use to identify suitable candidates.
Our well-proven Candidates database has been given a complete overhaul to adapt to changing requirements and user expectations. As before, setting up a profile and putting your CV online (anonymously) is free of charge. Companies can then search the database and view CVs, also without any obligation. If both sides – the company and the candidate they found in the database – are interested, we will initiate the contact between them.
Looking at the long list of component suppliers in the automotive industry, their fields of specialty and number of sales, which in some cases are not that far from those of small OEMs, is becomes clear that within the system of car manufacturing, the component suppliers play a bigger role now than ever. In Germany alone there are hundreds of those companies. Research and development is largely done by suppliers nowadays, which means that together with the production work they do, they contribute nearly half of the added value.
Once in a while it is worthwhile to take a look back – and ahead - of the present, in this case at the work force of tomorrow; at their hopes, fears, dreams, and oftentimes difficult process of deciding, what their life as adults should look like and what they want to do.
Almost everyone is familiar with the expression „culture shock“, but what is it, actually? What triggers it, how does it express itself, and what can be done against it? This much in advance: you cannot fully avoid it, merely soften the impact. So, what is a culture shock? The experience and individual situation is different for everyone, but the basic structure of the culture shock is always the same. There are four distinct phases:
The top-jobs-europe team has moved to a new office in mid-December. Thanks to careful preparation, everything went pretty smoothly, although of course our estimate concerning time requirements turned out to be a bit on the low side. Weeks before the moving date we started to sort through the various cupboards and shelves. Like in a normal household, quite a few things had accumulated over the years. What would be thrown out, what would still be needed until the last moment, and what can be packed in advance to keep the chaos somewhat at bay?