Companies must make themselves interesting

Today, companies apply to the candidates, say labour market experts. How do companies get trainees and skilled workers? How can they score points in the competition for talent? About 30 entrepreneurs and experts discussed this at the RP Forum "Attractive Employers".

TOGETHER with Rheinische Post, the entrepreneurship Düsseldorf and surrounding area had invited to discuss the core question formulated by Michael Grütering, Managing Director of the entrepreneurship Düsseldorf and surrounding area, as follows: "How can companies position themselves on an employee market in such a way that they are perceived as attractive employers? There are many interesting companies, but you don't know them. Grütering uses an example to show how modern instruments can be used. In a video presented on Youtube, trainees had promoted apprenticeship training in their company - a campaign that attracted the attention of the jurors of the Rhineland Innovation Prize. The prize is awarded every year by the entrepreneurship. Stadtwerke Neuss is well known in the region. "We have no problem finding candidates," says Stephan Lommetz. "However, people are not familiar with the large number of training occupations we offer. This company now also relies on trainees to present their work and thus inspire applicants. "We have had some positive feedback," says Lommetz, summing up initial experiences. Dr. Matthia Quellmelz-Gries (DKV Euro Service) reports something similar. Companies could also score points with trainees for things that are important to modern employees: flexible working hours, a good working atmosphere with company parties, sports activities, health campaigns or a small gift for Christmas and Easter - that's what Imerys Administrative Germany is counting on. There, the junior staff are involved in the recruitment process for new apprentices, Daniel Mayer explains. Lars Schittko (Clemens Kleine Dienstleistungen) comments: "It all sounds great. But it also has to be paid for." Many companies, especially in service industries, could not afford expensive promotions. Dr. Matthia Quellmelz-Gries answers: "You can also promote yourself with a corporate culture and leadership that is characterized by appreciation, fairness and mutual respect.

Even modernization can be attractive to new employees. At Securitas, a security company, modern technology has supplemented or replaced some of the activities previously performed by people. Video and radar techniques now open up challenging, attractive and well-paid areas of work, explains Daniel Schleimer. In addition, the company has made it possible for 90 employees to take part in further training courses to become certified protection and security personnel. After passing the exam, their salaries also increase.

 At Baues Architekten, trainees quickly assume responsibility and manage their own projects, says Anna Nölle. Such opportunities also contribute to being perceived as an attractive employer. "Companies must be aware of their strengths," says Dirk Mandel (SKP Personal- und Managementberatung). The company's own characteristics and values - i.e. the corners and edges of an employer brand - could be marketed as strengths, which, by the way, also applies to applicants. "One must be authentic and should only communicate what is lived in the company reality. Tata Steel Germany is successful with such a strategy. "We advertise with tradition," says Thorsten Eickhaus. This also includes values such as punctuality - obviously there are still people who appreciate this. In the steel industry, however, people generally have the problem of attracting attention. "But when candidates are sitting at the table, it's easier to interest them." Stadtwerke Neuss also makes a virtue out of necessity. Many applicants lack knowledge that was previously required. The company now offers support in acquiring driving licences or language skills, explains Lommetz. Thyssenkrupp starts elevators at a very early stage. The company invites students from grade 9 to the training workshop. There they can learn activities which are a prerequisite for later training, says Alexandra Kühne. "We have to get young people excited about our professions through practical experience," says Alexander Burstedde of the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft. The labour market researcher cites the example of a student with poor grades who first discovered her love of metal cutting during an internship - and later became the best apprentice in her class."To present oneself, to make experiencable, to show promotion possibilities - these measures recommend also Birgitta Kubsch von Harten of the agency for work Duesseldorf. And fish in other ponds: The labour market expert mentions dropouts as an example. That is a large clientele. The agency advises and accompanies companies here. Burstedde confirms that 43 percent of dropouts start an apprenticeship. "In addition to highly qualified and studied employees, companies in the manufacturing industry like us also need employees who simply want to work and do not primarily aspire to a career," notes Linda Bühler (Wachtel GmbH). Schittko adds that employees who aspire to a career with a low workload are not very popular, as he would like to see competition on the labor market increase, for example through controlled immigration. Companies also need support, says Bernhard Schmitz-von der Lohe from Stadtwerke Neuss. Even with simple qualifications and school requirements, there are sometimes major problems. "This is also a social challenge. Companies cannot do this on their own". On the other hand, Christoph Sochart is convinced that companies can also make a contribution. "We offer many contact opportunities for companies and students. For example the Düsseldorfer days of the vocational orientation (berufsorientierungstage.de) and the practical course stock exchange (deinschulpraktikum.de). The enterprises can use these possibilities free of charge. Enterprises find many possibilities here to bring themselves in. Robert Köpke of the agency for work Duesseldorf refers to offers within the range of the further training and qualification of persons employed. Here it gives much to do. The agency informs therefore in autumn in meetings about the possibilities of the qualification chance law. "We look for here the contact to enterprises, also in order to develop positive examples. Companies can also make a positive contribution in other ways - by communicating better. Yurda Burghardt (Kerkhoff Experts) knows cases in which candidates do not hear anything for weeks after an interview. "A good application process is characterized by being simple, transparent and fast. Companies should think and act from the candidate's point of view," advises the HR expert. "Because: Company attractiveness comes primarily from a feeling. And that develops right from the first point of contact. Jasmin Schürgers (German Red Cross, district association Düsseldorf) sees a completely different problem in the area of care, education and rescue services: "Temporary employment agencies appear as new competitors". They entice away skilled workers who may take on other activities and are lost to the industry as a whole. "We must all exert ourselves, in order to find training and specialists , summarize Michael Grütering the discussion. Some things are already happening, for example in vocational orientation. But the pressure remains high, Grütering warns: "We have an employee market. We can't change that."

Education, further education - everyone has to get involved

Qualification plays an important role when it comes to securing skilled workers. Companies and employees are in demand here. Especially since digitalisation is constantly changing the world of work.

SHOW WORK MARKET DATA, WHERE THE TREND IS GOING: Junior staff and specialists are a scarce resource. In Düsseldorf, companies have to fight for training candidates purely statistically. The ratio is one to 1.2, with 1.2 jobs per applicant. This year, exceptionally, a higher number of school leavers will come onto the market. "But this is atypical and will turn again," says Birgitta Kubsch-von Harten, Chairwoman of the Management Board of the Düsseldorf Employment Agency, at the RP Forum "Attractive Employers". Against the background of these figures, the labour market expert can encourage entrepreneurs to make every conceivable effort to attract young people: "Today's trainees are tomorrow's skilled workers". The current figures also show that the labour market is generally tight. In July, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent, as in the previous year, but more vacancies were reported. Among young people, only 4.9 percent are registered as unemployed. Economic expectations are currently dampening things a little. "It is still too early to speak of a turnaround, but the momentum is slowing noticeably," says Birgitta Kubsch-von Harten. Companies therefore have to do a lot to attract and retain skilled workers. The Federal Employment Agency offers its support, for example in recruiting apprentices. The labour market experts also help when it comes to getting unemployed people into an employment relationship. With a view to demographic development, companies must also exploit this potential, says the agency head. At the same time, she notes that companies are increasingly opening up to this. "The qualification of employees is also becoming increasingly important," stresses Birgitta Kubsch-von Harten. There is a continuous need for further training. This has also been recognised by the legislator - since January, the Qualification Opportunities Act has made it possible to provide new subsidies for further training. For example, there is a subsidy for wages and training costs. The experts at the Federal Employment Agency provide advice on this as well as on the numerous further training offers and opportunities. The demand is also high because digitalisation is permanently changing the world of work, explains Birgitta Kubsch-von Harten. The expert is convinced that structural change in the economy, demographic development and the necessity of continuing education throughout one's life will also keep the need for corresponding measures high in the future.

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