Did you know that there are currently around two and a half million students in Germany? Approximately ten percent, or around 250,000 of them, are international students, with China being the best-represented country. Some 23,000 young men and women from the most populous country in the world come to our universities to study. But what is this of interest to me in my role as HR Manager at MANN+HUMMEL?

As an international company, MANN+HUMMEL employs people from all over the world. And this is not just at the various locations in different countries (Spaniards in Spain and Americans in the USA, for example) – there are international employees in all our plants. There is a good reason behind this: in order to be a successful company in a globalised world, it is essential to have an international outlook, which involves making use of intercultural skills. At the moment we are focusing heavily on China. Why?

It is no secret that China has been one of the fastest growing national economies for years and there is huge potential in particular in the automotive industry, which is our core sector. For example, according to the German Association of the Automotive Industry, passenger car sales in China will increase this year to 17.4 million units, which will mean that the sales figures will have doubled since 2009. By way of comparison, the sales figures in Europe will have decreased consistently from 15.7 million in the record year of 2007 down to a predicted figure of 11.8 million for 2014.

For this reason, China is one of MANN+HUMMEL’s strategic growth markets. To be able to serve this market and guarantee our significant presence in the region, we are looking to expand there. In my role, I have to make sure that we also strengthen our workforce accordingly, mainly by hiring qualified Chinese employees. This involves my colleagues and I travelling around China and other countries, especially Germany as this gives us the chance to speak to young people whose qualifications will be in line with the German education system. These students are on their way to receiving the exact type of qualification we are looking for and, most importantly, will have an equal understanding of our way of working. In addition, they will usually have German and Chinese language skills. All of these factors make it much easier to work together in the future and reduce the number of basic measures regarding training and qualifications.

When it comes to recruiting junior staff from other countries, it makes sense to attend the many events for bringing companies and potential employees together. For me, this involves a lot of air travel as this type of event is organised all around the world. In Germany alone, we actively visit more than 25 of these Events.Most recently we attended the China Talent Days in Cologne specifically for Chinese applicants, where there were around 2000 future graduates. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this event myself but some colleagues of mine represented us there as a global family company that offers challenging and attractive jobs and has an excellent corporate culture and outstanding reputation. I can quite proudly say that this overall image of the company stirred up a lot of interest, which resulted in my team gaining a large number of contacts, in the form of potential employees for our locations in Germany and particularly those in China. It is certainly not the case that Chinese students always want to stay in Germany and in fact, in my experience, the vast majority would actually like to go back home once they have completed their studies.

It goes without saying that it would be a wonderful feeling for every ambitious young person to be able to return with a contract of employment already under their belts. Of course, contacts are by no means the same as signed contracts of employment, but I have a feeling that I will be welcoming some of the prospective employees to MANN+HUMMEL with the words “曼胡默尔欢迎您!” in the coming months.