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Excerpted from the Germany Career Guide

Germany's electrical, electronics and mechanical engineering industries greatly contribute to the country's economic success. The German Engineering Federation forecasts its members to experience 4 percent growth this year, despite decreasing demand. Last year the sector registered a 14 percent increase in production.

Germany is experiencing a major skilled labor shortage and engineers are at the top of the list of desired employees. The Association of German Engineers (VDI) claims there are 80,000 vacant engineering positions in the country.

Certification and Education Requirements

The education requirements for engineers in Germany are quite extensive. Engineers may acquire their education by one of two possible methods: a university degree or an apprenticeship. The diploma degree can only be achieved at university and requires five to six years of study. German universities are currently in the process of reforming the education system in order to standardize German higher education in accordance with EU legal requirement. Through the Bologna Process, universities are now offering bachelor/master tracks in engineering. As the ‘Diplom-Ingenieur’ is Germany’s oldest degree, introduced in 1899 by the King of Prussia, Germans hold on to it tightly. Most students directly continue on to their master’s degrees and disregard their bachelor’s degrees completely. Few companies are willing to employ an engineer with just a bachelor’s degree. In order to enroll at a German university, it is necessary to achieve the highest German school qualification, called Abitur.

Organizations and Trade Associations

Gesellschaft fur Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V. (DECHEMA)
Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
http://www.dechema.de/ (German, English)
DECHEMA, the Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, is a non-profit scientific and technical society based in Frankfurt. It promotes research and technical advances in the areas of chemical engineering, biotechnology and environmental protection. It was founded in 1926 and now has more than 5,000 private and institutional members.

Theodor-Heuss-Allee 25
D-60486 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: (0)69 75 64 0
Fax: (0)69 75 64 201
Email: info@dechema.de

Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie (BDLI) Friedrichstrasse 60
D-10117 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 2061 40 0
Fax: +49 (0)30 2061 40 90
Email: info@bdli.de

Labor Unions

Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (IG BCE)
Union for the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries
http://www.igbce.de/ (German, English)
In 1997, IG BCE, the Union for the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries, was formed through the merger of the Chemical, Paper and Pulp and Ceramic Workers’ Union, the Mining and Energy Workers’ Union and the Leather Workers’ Union. It is an affiliate of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and represents workers from the sectors of mining, chemicals, energy, crude oil and natural gas, glass, rubber, ceramics, leather, paper and pulp, plastics, environmental matters, the water industry, utilities and the non-metallic materials industry. The union represents approximately 770,000 members. This corresponds to a unionization level of approximately 50 percent. On its website there are essays on general employee subjects such as pensions, operational codetermination, workers’ rights and salary levels. Descriptions of several industry branches as well as statistics, development tendencies, educational workshops and practical links are also offered on this website.

Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie
Königsworther Platz 6
D-30167 Hannover
Tel: +49 (0)511 7631 0
Fax: +49 (0)511 7631 713
Email: info@igbce.de

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Germany Guide.

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