By Alan Fong
Despite of the growing worries of returning high unemployment, German businesses in Taiwan found recruiting and retaining local talents among the biggest problems, according to a survey released by the German Trade Office Taipei (GTO).
Over 53 per cent of German enterprises in Taiwan described finding qualified staff either a problem or a major problem, making it the top challenge this year, according to statistics from the German Business Confidence 2012. On other hand, 44.1 per cent of respondents regarded retaining qualified staff as a problem or a major problem, the third most commonly shared challenges after currency risks (48.4 per cent).
Meanwhile, the survey found that 33 per cent of businesses have plans to hire in 2012, which shows a significant thirst for local talent by German enterprises.
Helmut Felix Bolt, chief representative of steel giant ThyssenKrupp AG's Representative Office Taiwan, suggested preference of local brands among jobseekers as one of the contributors to the recruiting challenge of German businesses.
Many local engineers would like to work in Taiwanese corporations in part because of their lack of confidence to work in an English environment. While a majority of applicants of engineering jobs have studied abroad in countries such as the United States, companies sometimes still find it difficult to recruit people with adequate proficiency in English to work in their professional fields, Bolt suggested.
Dr. Roland Wein, GTO's executive director, also pointed out the importance of local talents to study second languages such as German and English.
The survey, conducted by WTO among 208 German businesses in Taiwan (with a response rate of 59.1 per cent) from May 14 to June 8, painted an optimistic picture for 2012. In addition to the one-third of business reporting plans to hire, over one-fourth of respondents said they will increase investment while nearly 50 per cent expect surges in turnover and about 40 per cent in profit in 2012.
Uwe Halstenbach, general manager of TUV Rheinland Taiwan, pointed out that while the business climate seems to be worsening for second half of the year, he still expects 2012 to be better in general compared to the previous year.
The survey also gauged the impact of the improved relations between Taipei and Beijing in recent years. Over 57 per cent of respondents said they have directly benefited from warming cross-strait ties while 56.5 per cent said they benefited indirectly from it (e.g. from increased orders by local businesses exporting to China). On the other hand, 34.6 per cent of businesses are said to have already gained from tariff reductions in the Early Harvest List from the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in June 2010, while 51.4 per cent expect to benefit from future reductions.