Continuing our series of global leadership interviews, we spoke to Daniel Joseph, Director and DACH Sector Head Technology & Digital at Morgan Philips about the current state of the tech and digital market in Germany.
Employing nearly one million people and estimated to be worth around €230bn or around 7% of GDP, the tech sector is an income generator for the German economy. Describing the major hiring trends, Daniel says, “If you take the overall picture, just like in many other countries, we’re looking at AI, data and IT security as the hot specialist tech areas in Germany. In terms of technical skills, software architects who are able to build platforms as a service (PaaS) or e-commerce infrastructure are in huge demand.”
Digital and database skills
Although there are skill shortages in Austria and Switzerland – the two other German speaking countries that make up the DACH region – the need for talent is clearly vaster in Europe’s largest economy. Looking at the specific IT technical skills and experience sought by employers Daniel adds, “Open source programming languages such as Java are always in strong demand. Since the pandemic, cloud computing experience has also taken off, so knowledge of all the key platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are sought after. Experience of different databases within complex engineering processes is also highly asked for.”
The pandemic has also accelerated the need for digital transformation. “It’s very important for companies to keep progressing and learning in the digital sphere. Digitalisation is about the whole DNA and culture of a business but organisations must embrace change. Germany is behind the US or China for example, so we need to adopt best practices and see how they work,” he remarks. “Individuals must align international resources quickly and be open minded. Communication skills are key as are setting ‘SMART’ [Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based] goals and removing distractions.”
Values based culture
And what are the leadership skills needed to succeed in these business critical roles? “When I think of my own education as an executive coach, self-reflection is very important as is seeking feedback from trusted colleagues. Whether it’s for a CDO, CIO, COO or CXO role, organisations are looking for game changers, authentic, honest and fair individuals who can actively listen but also like to have fun as you have to enjoy what you do,” notes Daniel. “It’s also about creating a culture based on values rather than rules, so not managing by control.”
While diversity still remains an issue in a predominantly male-dominated sector, progress is being made in Germany. As Daniel explains, “At the end of 2020, the coalition government introduced a mandatory boardroom quota so things are moving in the right direction. But it is still a problem and a challenge to ensure that we have greater diversity within companies. It’s not just a gender balance question either, as for example we need more global expertise and foreign specialists from outside our country.”
Competition for top talent is always fiercely contested, so organisations have to offer the right blend of benefits, especially for Gens Y and Z. “The motto for the digital age, which has been reinforced by the pandemic, is ‘YOLO’ [‘You Only Live Once’]. The young cohorts want to make the most of their work time. Managers must establish a connection with the person and their values to better understand what motivates them but also their potential. Both the organisation and individual will therefore be aligned in the joint pursuit of corporate and personal goals.”
And what about advice for candidates looking to land these plum jobs? “The best thing I can say to anyone going for a SVP, VP or EVP role is to keep yourself updated in terms of digital education, which is so important given the fast moving technology and the speed with which everything changes. Don’t forget that you’re human and just be yourself – don’t pretend to be somebody you’re not. People want to see the unique, original and best version of you!”
Daniel expects the big trends to remain the same throughout 2021. “I think there will be a new wave of innovation but as mentioned, the likes of AI and data will continue to dominate the tech landscape, so skills related to big data, data science, machine learning as well as cloud computing will be the most in demand during the course of the year.”
Looking to make your next critical hire in technology, IT or financial services in Germany? Are you a game changer looking for you next role? Email Daniel at email@example.com.
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