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Thread: German Exodus: Educated Germans Leaving Country in Droves

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    German Exodus: Educated Germans Leaving Country in Droves

    A new world of work: jobless at home, employed abroad. Germans increasingly turn to countries like Switzerland and Austria in their search to find elusive opportunities

    Germany once was the land that attracted foreign workers hungry for work. But, in these times of high German unemployment, the country's citizens are becoming the people who are doing the traveling. In the last year alone, a federal office found jobs in western Europe for nearly 3,000 Germans. The top two countries on the list were Austria and Switzerland. The agency found jobs in Austria for 1,913 Germans and positions in Switzerland for 1,320 Germans. That represented increases of 53 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

    Unlike the past when college graduates headed abroad, it is skilled workers who are leaving. This trend ”was unheard of in the past,” said Sabine Seidler, a spokeswoman for the government job-search office. The trend is expected to continue. ”It will become a matter of moving to where the work is,” said Sylvia Bräsecke, an employee of an eastern German company that also helps Germans find work in other countries.

    Here is a look at the stories of three eastern Germans who have taken the plunge.


    Switzerland

    Enrico Heyduck and Walter Friedrich - the one 27, the other 46 - are masons who specialize in clinker bricks. But once the two headed off to Klosters, Switzerland, they had a thing or two to learn. ”They do everything differently here,” Heyduck said. As a result, the first days on the job were different. ”It's just like being an apprentice,” he says.

    But the two buddies from the northeastern German city of Magdeburg had reached a point where they had to do something. Heyduck said he could not count all of the times that he had been unemployed, and Friedrich has a mortgage weighing on his bank account. The prospects of finding work in Magdeburg, with its 20 percent unemployment rate, were not good.

    So the two turned to Bräsecke's operation, the Europe-Job-Center, for help. A short time later, they were packing a television into their car and heading off on a journey of 840 kilometers (520 miles) to Klosters, the vacation resort in northern Switzerland. There, they joined a crew that was expanding a single-family home into a three-family house.

    But the job meant a trade-off for the two brick masons, particularly Friedrich, the homeowner. They shared a room of 12 square meters (129 square feet). It was furnished with two beds, a table, chairs and the television set that they brought along. They paid 350 Swiss francs ($298) per bed each month. Every three weeks, they made the trip back to Magdeburg and packed the car with low-priced food they bought at Aldi. Switzerland, after all, is expensive.

    And they even began thinking about their long-term prospects in Switzerland. ”The boss still has eight other projects,” Heyduck said at one point. But nothing has come of these projects. Winter is approaching, and the two are back in Germany. Heyduck is now a father, and he cannot earn money to support his son. So he waits for a call from Switzerland. ”Of course, I would go back,” he says.
    The job center where the two brick masons found their temporary positions has existed in Magdeburg for more than three years. The private company works closely with government officials and has placed 2,386 people in positions in such occupations as mechanics, welding and locksmithing. ”That's nice,” Bräsecke said.


    Austria

    Like the masons, Ralph Dunger had to learn a thing or two once he left his hometown of Dresden and headed to Austria five years ago. The waiter discovered a new type of German. A simple word like ”potato” (Kartoffeln) became something called an Erdapfel (apple of the earth). Today, the 51-year-old man has the language down pat and has been working for a year in a hotel in Stubaital, in the Tyrol section of western Austria.

    Workers like Dunger have been a fixture in Austria's vacation business for years. ”It's better to have a low-paying job in Austria than be unemployed in eastern Germany,” said union leader Rudolf Kaske.

    At the moment, an Austrian trade association estimates that 5,500 Germans are working in Austrian vacation-related businesses and the trend is heading upward. That is because tourism is a job engine, climbing 8.3 percent to 156,000 jobs over the last five years. And Germany appears to be a rich source of new workers. But tourism officials acknowledge that there is a downside to this development: Germany's employment woes are not good for Austria's tourism industry.

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    Germans Leaving Country in Droves

    Germans leaving country to escape unemployment By Erik Kirschbaum
    Fri Dec 30, 8:24 AM ET



    BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans are leaving their country in record numbers but unlike previous waves of migrants who fled 19th century poverty or 1930s Nazi terror, these modern day refugees are trying to escape a new scourge -- unemployment.


    Flocking to places as far away as the United States, Canada and Australia as well as Norway, the Netherlands and Austria more than 150,000 Germans packed their bags and left in 2004 -- the greatest exodus in any single year since the late 1940s.

    High unemployment that lingers at levels of more than 20 percent in some parts of Germany and dim prospects for any improvement are the key factors behind the migration. In the 15 years since German unification more than 1.8 million Germans have left.

    "It's hard for me to even imagine any more what it's like to have so much unemployment," said Karin Manske, 45, who moved to the United States with her two children eight years ago to start her own business as a consultant.

    "It's hard to fathom because Germans are such skilled workers," Manske said in an interview with Reuters in Los Angeles. "I love the adventurous spirit and won't go back. You can start a business on a shoe string and work hard to succeed."

    There are an estimated 70,000 Germans living in southern California, many of whom have arrived in recent years. Earlier tides of emigrants fleeing the Nazis went to Hollywood while post-war waves of Germans filled jobs as skilled artisans in nearby Orange County towns like Anaheim.

    "Some of my friends moved to Australia, to Switzerland or London and I came to the U.S., where I'm definitely much better off than I would have been in Germany," said Wolfram Knoeringer, 33, an German architect who moved to Los Angeles in 2002.

    "It's not the best time for architects in Germany," he told Reuters, referring to a flat economy, a stagnant population and shrinking building sector. "There are tons of architects in Berlin with little to do. LA is a far more interesting place."

    EAST GERMANS TAKE OVER ALPS

    According to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden, the 150,667 Germans who left last year went to 200 countries -- the United States was the top destination with 12,976, following by Switzerland (12,818), Austria (8,532) and Britain

    (7,842).

    Other countries that took in Germany's poor, their tired and their hungry were France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

    "There are actually far more Germans moving abroad than the numbers reflected in the official statistics," said Klaus Bade, a University of Osnabrueck professor who studies migration.

    "The poor chance of finding jobs at home is the main reason they're leaving," Bade told Stern magazine in a cover story that gave Germans useful tips on how to emigrate.

    It's a remarkable change of fortune for Germany, which thanks to the post-war "Economic Miracle" of the 1950s and 1960s was a magnet for millions of foreigners who trekked there from Turkey, Italy and other poor countries in search of jobs.

    The main exodus from Germany has been from its formerly communist East, which has been depressed and contracting since just after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The East's population has shrunk to 14.7 million from 16 million since 1990.

    A Europe Job Center in Magdeburg and a government agency in Bonn known as ZAV have helped tens of thousands of Germans find jobs abroad, mainly in neighboring countries.

    The numbers leaving Germany are modest considering there are nearly 5 million unemployed, even though the trend seems to be gaining pace. There has been scant economic growth in Germany for years and property prices have barely changed in a decade.

    Annika Richter left home in Dresden to work as a cook and bookkeeper in a Liechtenstein ski resort. Her Saxon accent stands in contrast to the melody of the local Swiss German dialect.

    But her easily distinguishable language blends in with the staff at her Alpine hotel because most of them are also east Germans, now seen as among Europe's most mobile workers.

    "I didn't want to work in Germany because this type of job is looked down on," said Richter, 34. "Hotel service jobs have no status in Germany. I'm happy here. I want to work here, save money and then travel the world. I'll probably come back here."

    TO AMSTERDAM

    Germans have been sailing, running and flying away from their home for centuries. Millions of 19th century emigrants escaped poverty while later waves fled Adolf Hitler's Nazis or were eager to leave the post-war ruins behind.

    Some countries, such as Australia, are now actively recruiting Germans with skills at their embassies in Berlin. In a bizarre twist of fate, construction companies in northern Italy have recently been hiring Germans for low skill jobs.

    Yet many of those who leave say they have no regrets. Bernhard Klug went to Amsterdam in February after losing his job at his advertising agency at home.

    "Sure there are some things I miss but I am very happy here," said Klug, a 35-year-old designer taking evening Dutch lessons. "Work is less stressful, people leave on time, and the atmosphere is much more relaxed and informal among colleagues."

    Klug doesn't miss his homeland.

    "In the Netherlands, there isn't the constant moaning you have in Germany," he said. "I'm staying here, at least for now."

    Susanne Lutterbach moved to Zurich two years ago for a job.

    "It was easier to find work in Switzerland," said Lutterbach, 25, who found a marketing position at a computer company. "I was able to start right away after I graduated."

    Dagmar Hovestadt had a good job at a Berlin television station but grew bored and quit six years ago, moved to Los Angeles and now works as a freelance journalist.

    "People said I was crazy," she said. "I always dreamedabout living in California. The mentality is about as opposite from Berlin as it gets. It's a tough working environment and you're on your own. But I really wanted to get away from Germany."

    (Additional reporting by Pilar Wolfsteller in Liechtenstein, Alexandra Hudson in Amsterdam and Peter Maushagen in Zurich)

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    In the beginning of this year it was very popular for Germans to move to Sweden. I remember some news articles on that phenomenon; especially young couples from former Eastern Germany wanted to work in Scandinavia.

    Anyway, I think this trend will even boost since e.g. Germans are allowed to study at Austria's universities now. German universities have a "numerus clausus", this means you must have a special mark when leaving school to study specific subjects or you have to wait for years to get a university place. Especially the subject medicine is affected by this regulations. Since the last semester Austria opened their universities for more foreign students and a huge run started on the places to study. In Vienna and Graz 1 out of 3, resp. 1 out of 2 students is from Germany - and will probably stay there when he or she has finished his/her studies.
    Lík börn leika best.

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    "Copied from yahoo" - very good thread title.
    How many Germans, btw, fled 1930´s "Nazi terror"? Probably this Erik Kirschbaum considers himself one of them.
    Tolerance is a proof of distrust in one's own ideals. Friedrich Nietzsche


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    It's true there is no real work to be found here. But at least they have a good welfare system.

    The German media is always crying and complaining about under-the-table workers, who work without the government knowing and thus don't pay taxes on their wages, but how else is one to find work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NordicPower88
    It's true there is no real work to be found here.
    how can that be?

    how backward can a country be

    - to lack sufficient industrialisation,
    division of labor and specialisation

    to employ all those who desire to work?

    what is handicapping the economy
    (in other words, preventing persons from working)?

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    German Exodus Gathers Pace

    German Exodus Gathers Pace

    Bertrand Benoit, Financial Times (UK), September 1, 2006


    The exodus of Germans being lured away from home is greater today than at any time since statisticians began collecting figures about population movements in the 1950s.

    Last year, for the first time since 1968, more people left Germany than arrived, according to Destatis, the federal statistical office. It estimates that 144,815 Germans left the country last year because of high unemployment, better opportunities or, in some cases, tax.

    Germany has among the lowest birth rates in Europe and its population is shrinking, prompting some experts to warn of the negative impact of the departures on the country’s economy.

    German demographers were shocked in 1987 when the latest census put the population at 82.4m—1.3m lower than projected. But a more unpleasant surprise could be in store for Germans as work for the next census gets under way this week. The previous emigration record of 1956 was breached in 1994 and, after several years of decline, the outflow began rising again in 2001, and continued to rise up to 2004, although 2005’s figure of 144,815 was slightly down on the year before.

    “There has definitely been an increase [in German emigration] over the past two to three years,” said Christina Busch at the Raphael-Werke, an organisation that counsels would-be emigrants. “What worries me is that 99.9 per cent of those I see have qualifications. Many have children. Some even have good jobs. And most want a clean break—they do not intend to come back.”

    Architects, engineers, lorry drivers, scientists and social workers are leaving in droves, according to figures. The outflow of doctors towards Scandinavia is such that the medical faculty of Erlangen University recently started offering Swedish courses to its students.

    Until recently, the assumption was that demographic shrinkage would help alleviate high unemployment. In a recent study, however, the IAB research institute, part of the Federal Labour Agency, concluded: “Without new policies, no significant decline in unemployment can be expected [before 2020].”

    The reason is the deepening mismatch between demand and supply on the labour market as the best-qualified emigrate, demand for untrained workers decreases and the quality of education stagnates. For former East Germany, the outlook is particularly grim. Another IAB study estimates the region’s population will drop from 15m to 9m by 2050.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14628559/
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    Re: German Exodus Gathers Pace

    I wonder how many of those leaving might be non-Germans?

    From the 6th paragraph, I gather it's probably mostly ethnic Germans.

    If they could stop so many Germans from leaving, they wouldn't need to cry about needing immigrants!

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    Re: German Exodus Gathers Pace

    Quote Originally Posted by Haldís View Post
    German Exodus Gathers Pace

    German demographers were shocked in 1987 when the latest census put the population at 82.4m—1.3m lower than projected.
    Dear Haldis, 1987 must be a misprint. Maybe 1997?

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    Re: German Exodus Gathers Pace

    Quote Originally Posted by Spjabork View Post
    Dear Haldis, 1987 must be a misprint. Maybe 1997?
    Maybe the 82,4m is a missprint, I am quite sure the last census was in the 80s.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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