Huzzah! The job market is finally showing signs of post-pandemic recovery. Surely that means recruiting is about to get a whole lot easier. Right? Wrong. The global worker shortage is about more than the pandemic. Pundits are fretting that it could be permanent, caused by, among other things, a shrinking talent pool. Put simply, there just aren’t enough willing candidates to fill all the jobs. In our experience, this is particularly true of the customer service industry.
Where did everyone go?
It’s time we admitted it: living in the West, we’re lucky. We have high levels of autonomy, giving us more choices on where and how we make our money.
We work remotely, roam the world as digital nomads, pursue creative passions, and have an enviable work-life balance. But most of the world’s population isn’t so lucky. There are plenty of people out there hungry for work that will improve their lives.
So, maybe the scarcity of talent is actually just a scarcity of talent in certain places.
Take Germany, for example.
Why is it so hard to recruit German speakers?
It’s hard to hire native German speakers, whether you are trying to hire them in Germany, France, Spain, or elsewhere. In fact, it’s so hard to recruit German speakers that some companies, such as TeleperformanceTP, are offering them €4,000 to relocate to Portugal.
But German speakers have high expectations and aren’t won over easily.
Why is customer service talent so difficult to find?
Germany isn’t the only country in which it’s hard to find talented customer support staff. The same is true in France, UK, Italy, Denmark, Belgium…
There are a number of reasons:
A strong economy
Germany is perhaps the best example of a strong economy. Since the end of WWII, Germany has made a startling comeback. It’s now the world’s fourth-largest economy and the biggest in the EU. During the pandemic, its economy shrank by just 5%.
Average customer support salaries vary in line with the local market. Germans, for example, are paid well and are in demand, so they can afford to be picky. As a result, you’ll have a hard time getting them to relocate for a job or getting them to work in industries with lower pay rates.
Business is booming
Business is booming in many European countries. With its network of digital hubs in Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg, Germany is top of the list for startups. Places such as Amsterdam and Stockholm are also entrepreneurial hotspots. Essentially, there’s almost ‘too much’ opportunity, and talent is spread thin.
Customer service culture
Regarding customer service, Germany operates differently from, say, the United States. In the US, people place a premium on friendly interactions even if they don’t get the answers they’re looking for. Germans, on the other hand, seek solutions and are more inclined to sort things out for themselves. Consequently, they’re less inclined to consider customer service roles.
Low unemployment rates
While the pandemic threw us into a monetary tailspin, some countries aren’t doing so badly. Germany (again, we know) is now looking at the lowest unemployment rate since COVID-19 hit its borders. Down to just 3.7%. With such job security, who’s left to look for jobs?
These are just a few of the reasons hiring is hard in the West. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, there’s a hiring resurgence on the horizon which means recruiting can get easier.
And perhaps, if we’re willing to look beyond our own backyard, we can even end the war for talent for good.