Sunday, March 26, 2017

German Industry and the Migrants

One of the more impressive bureaucrats that the German government Frank-Jurgen Weiss.  I've sat over the past three years and seen at least three forums or interviews with the guy.  If you were looking for a clever German guy, with some common sense and ability to read through lots of data to reach conclusions....he's that guy.

Unfortunately for Germany....Weiss is retiring this year (he's 65 years old).

For fourteen of the past years....Weiss was the head of the German Federal Agency for Labor.

In his youth....he spent twelve years with the German Army.  They offered him a chance for advanced studies and he took advantage of that.  He went into reserve duty, and worked as a civilian for the German Army.  Lot of people were impressed with his competency and drive.  He's a guy who puts a lot of effort into thinking about a problem before arriving at a decision.

At some point in late 2015....the head of the BamF (the German agency over migration and immigration) quit.  It's safe to say that for the entire year prior....Manfried Schmidt (the boss) was under constant criticism from all sides of the German government.  Schmidt had problems in getting changes made within his agency....he had manpower issues....and the agency was ill-equipped to perform at the level required.

As Schmidt handed in his resignation....the Merkel coalition was stuck having to find a replacement.  Basically, they needed someone who simply didn't exist.  They needed an administrator, a genius, a general, an innovations guy, a tough disciplinarian, and a person with Einstein-like thinking skills.  They called Frank Jurgen Weiss up and asked if he'd take the job.

The problem was....legally by German law, he could not take the 'salaried job' because of obligations.

So, he basically continued to work as the head of the German Federal Agency for Labor, and became the 'CEO' of BamF.

For twelve months, Weiss led BamF out of the mess they were in.  He forced the employees to accept change.  He brought in more manpower.  He instituted various changes that were not easily accepted. In some ways...he fixed what was really broke, and made the job for the new incoming guy in late 2016 a lot easier.

I bring up this topic of Weiss because he's done an interview in the past week.  He quietly admits something which will not make the Merkel coalition government happy.

From all the immigrants and migrants who came into Germany since 2012....Weiss notes that only 10-to-15 percent have some skill, craft, or degree....which will result in a job within twelve months after arrival.

The rest?  It's divided into two groups.  The bulk (maybe 60-percent) have some background or work experience that means something....but there's no certification or the depth that German companies would expect.  This group will require some type of program....meaning not just a year, but maybe two or three years of some support and training help.  The remaining group?  Nothing.

In Weiss's own words....if German industry had some faint hope of using these's a false hope.

At the end of 2016....there were only 34,000 of the million-plus migrants/immigrants who had real full-time jobs.  The rest?  They fell into training programs, 1-Euro an hour jobs which companies were training the employees while the government paid subsidy checks to cover the cost of living for the employees.  Some were part-time employees.

Toward the end of 2016, Weiss made a comment in public that if German industry needed more employees....they'd best aim at European countries....more so than immigrants or migrants.

This is a topic which rarely gets discussed by anyone from the CDU or SPD.  They both have gone deep into Merkel's migrant plan, and have little room to maneuver.  The problem here is that industry managers and planners have to view this great idea of using new talent from the migration mostly a failure.

Since the Greece crisis and the Spanish downturn on the economy....there's been some educated and trained Greeks and Spaniards showing up for German employment.  I would expect this to continue and possibly expand.

I imagine if you asked Weiss a wide set of questions of the migration policy....he'd probably tell you some blunt truths, and want to fix the whole system.  But I doubt that the Merkel coalition would be happy with those blunt truths.

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