How Easy is it to Access Work in Berlin’s New Silicon Alley?

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Many who travel to Berlin in search of work do so to become a part of something new, to make an impact in the start up of new business, or to further existing careers. Many young people are seeking work outside of their home countries as unemployment continues to be an issue. Although statistics suggest that unemployment in the EU has fallen from 10.4% to 10.2% it is still nonetheless a factor that can make seeking employment highly competitive.

Berlin is home to Aushilf, the temporary job, and this adds to the competition for employment. Many come to Berlin to enjoy its nightlife and culture, and seek temporary employment to maintain their finances whilst they do so. Some remain and seek permanent work but many go to Berlin seeking to further their careers or to get into a booming new industry.

Finding an important job opportunity in Berlin has become increasingly difficult, and even when it is found the process of application has become a huge task. It seems that those recruiting to jobs need to put candidates through a system of telephone interviews, call backs, assignments and further interviews as they seek to ensure they do not waste their time. Ex patriots seeking a start-up career opportunity in Berlin are experiencing severe difficulties in getting jobs. Careers in start-up seem to be contained within a bubble that is hard to penetrate, with only those already inside moving from one start up opportunity to another. Like Silicon Valley, Berlin’s Silicone Alley seems to have become an exclusive area, where heads of department recruit from amongst friends and former colleagues, leaving those outside with little hope of getting a job.

There is evidence from those recruiting to support the theory that recruitment is exclusive, and in 2013 an article was published on the eremedia.com website in which it was stated that the highest likelihood of being recruited was through recommendation by an employee. This is unfair to other applicants, as they will be excluded if only those recommended by existing staff are given consideration for employment.

Without making a generalisation, a lot of those who recruit are young and lacking in experience. These recruiting personnel are tasked with sifting through literally hundreds of applications in order to choose the right people for positions within their company. Whilst a young, energetic and enthusiastic approach can be beneficial in business, making the wrong choice during recruitment can be damaging and costly. Training new employees costs time and money, and if that employee does not prove to be right for the business, that time and money will be wasted.

Diversity amongst the start-up opportunities in Berlin could be as wide as anywhere else, but that diversity will not grow unless recruiters look beyond their own inner circle and give the ex patriot career-seeking community an equal chance. It is this inner circle, or bubble, that prevents those outside of it from making valuable contributions to companies, whilst they continue to take on less-demanding and rewarding work to survive.

For diversity to bloom in the start-up business world of Berlin, recruiters need to look outside of their own circles and make opportunity available to the wider community, including ex patriots.

Advertising jobs is an effective way of demonstrating growth within a business and it can attract venture capitalists who want to invest. This is of course positive for business in general and can contribute to the growth of Berlin’s industries.

The task for those seeking jobs already includes overcoming a number of obstacles, but if they are outside of the inner world from which businesses are recruiting it can become an impossible one. To benefit from the wide range of talent available for recruitment, business needs to break open the bubble of its inner world and make opportunity available for all.

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