Monthly Archives: September 2018

The Top 10 Of “Endangered Jobs”

There are professions that are practically extinct. And there are discussions about those who are acutely threatened with extinction – supposedly. But is that really true every time?

By Jens Kügler

I recently took part in a market research study conducted by a US company here in Munich. A translator was present—for interviewees who did not speak enough English and to clarify possible misunderstandings. In a short interview break I got into conversation with her. She expressed the fear that her job would soon become obsolete due to translation machines on the internet. Her future was uncertain, as she believed.

I said to her that no matter how good the machines might become (and they’re getting better all the time), there need to be humans still. Only a human writer can create and transform to the reader the meanings of content between the lines , the “color” of a text, the emotional aspects in and between the words. That is my conviction. If you would like to have this confirmed, simply copy this text into “Google Translate”, click “go” and read the result.

On the same day I read an article on the English job portal “The Undercover Recruiter” about which ten jobs would soon become extinct. The top 10 future losers, so to speak. Among them are taxi drivers, barista, parcel messengers, department store salesmen, customer service call center employees and supermarket cashiers. Okay, the latter are already “relieved” here and there by express cash registers. But let’s be honest, do you want to be advised or driven through the city by a robot?—to then be served and entertained at the bar by R2-D2 or C-3PO?

There will be upheavals. They have already been there—and will continue. 150 years ago, the textile factory “replaced” most tailors. However, man survived in the niche. Would there otherwise be tailors and fashion designers? The so-called dead craft is still also identified with having “golden ground”, as a German proverb says. The thinking human being will continue to be needed. Not to mention the artist.

A good translator reflects the emotional of the spoken and written. And if one day these blog articles no longer start with “Written by Jens Kügler”, but “by R2-D2”, will there still be readers? Or is the whole content then only relevant as input for the Google crawlers?

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Job Change: If Not Now, Then … When?

What do career opportunities have in common with opinion research, the rent price stabilization and start-up figures? There are some interesting connections in Germany in 2018.

By Jens Kügler

There is good and bad news for the German economy in 2018. The bad news first: The trend that start-ups have been declining for years is continuing. According to the annual survey KfW-Gründungsmonitor (“founding monitor” of KfW development bank group), the number of self-employed fell by 17% in 2017 compared to the previous year. According to the development bankers, the descent will continue in 2018.

One reason for this decline is—on the other hand—the good news. The German economy is booming. Never before in our history have there been so many employees as in 2018, the Employment Agency happily announces. 44.8 million—this figure was published by the Munich Ifo Institute of opinion research. It is expected to reach 45.2 million in 2019. At the same time, the unemployment rate is falling to an equally historic low.

A shortage of skilled workers—this is another matter with a good and a bad side. There is a shortage of skilled workers who are in great demand. What is bad for Germany’s economy and competitiveness is good for the individual employee, the “skilled worker”. But those who now believe that they can automatically get a higher salary and better working conditions are mistaken.

The situation is similar to that with rented apartments. The keyword here is rent cap or rent price stabilization. A landlord or hirer can only demand significantly more rent with a change of tenant. That’s required by the law. In the working world, too, more salary can only be expected by a change of job. Employers who are desperately looking for new employees pay more and respond more likely to the wishes of their applicants. More flexible working hours, more work-life balance, more personal responsibility in the job—all this is usually only offered first and foremost to job changers.

In short, those who want to change, enhance themselves and find a new employer have never had such advantages as today, 2018. The pollsters at the Forsa Institute have found out that 35% of all employees plan to do exactly this in the next twelve months. In the end, the fewest will have done it, as always. Daily grind and routine prove to be stronger—and courage is the exception. I only say: dare! If not now, then when?

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