Tag: industry

German tech industry dragged into the 21st century

Hartmann_Maschinenhalle_1868_(01)Germany, whose industry has been relying on things to run the same way as they did before those World Wars, has suddenly woken up in the digital age and is a little worried about it.

According to Reuters big German companies have started teaming up with start-ups to shake up their conservative business culture and keep pace with a world increasingly dominated by nimble tech giants.

Most of the German blue-chips run along 19th century lines with only the youngest — SAP, founded less than 43 years ago.

In other Western countries the top 30 companies on the Nasdaq were set up in the 1980s or later and the fourth-biggest firm, Facebook, was established about a decade ago.

German government officials and company executives fear they could fall far behind if they cannot swiftly identify and adopt innovations in web and smartphone technology that have driven the success of Google, Apple and Amazon.

Metro, Bayer, Evonik, Merck KGaA and Deutsche Telekom are now investing in start-ups – seeking to gain digital expertise, as well as to embrace newcomers whose innovations could represent threats to their own businesses.

They have a long way to go, Investment in German start-ups more than doubled to $1.74 billion last year, this was less than the amount raised by Uber. US-based start-ups drew $49.39 billion.

Fewer than half of Germany’s top 500 companies have a comprehensive digital strategy, according to a study by Accenture.Only 11 percent use social media and only six percent cloud computing, the European Commission’s Digital Economy Index published at the end of February showed.

Healthcare firms Bayer, Merck and Boehringer Ingelheim, Deutsche Telekom and chemicals group Evonik, meanwhile, have all set up multi-million euro in-house venture funds. Deutsche Telekom has pledged to invest $542 million in Germany’s start-up scene over the next five years.

The German government has announced plans to try to promote startups. They include a pre-market web platform to connect young companies with investors.

However most say that there needs to be more venture capital investment in Germany and the scene needs to be more attractive in terms of taxation.

The other problem is that the Germans do not like investing in something which might go tits up.


2014 the best year since 2001

2001The tech industry is in its best state since 2001, according to figures from TechAmerica Foundation analysts.

Before the bubble burst, and payrolls shrank dramatically, the tech industry employed 6.5 million people.  In 2014 we are just 200,000 jobs shy of equalling that figure.

Tech industry employment reached 6.3 million in the first half of this year, a gain of 118,800 jobs, up 1.9 percent compared to the first half of 2013.

Oddly that is below the 3.7 percent growth rate overall for private-sector employers and the weaker rate of growth is an anomaly for the industry.

Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of technology industry trade group CompTIA, which bought  TechAmerica, said that the tech industry often experiences a better employment situation than the private sector.

In 2011 and 2012, the tech industry outgrew the overall private sector. In 2009, while the private sector saw employment fall by 5.5 percent. The employment decline in the tech industry was slightly lower at 4.5 percent.

Some of the slowing down of growth might be due to the fact that some big names like HP and  Microsoft have been cutting back, and in the first half of this year there were nearly 50,000 tech industry layoffs.

Safer areas to work have been R&D, testing and engineering services, which saw 54,100 new jobs. IT services was next, with a gain of 36,000 jobs.

Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing saw employment rose from 156,000 jobs in January 2013 to 166,000 in June 2014.

Apparently, the tech industry is one of the best-paying sectors of the economy. The average annual salary for a tech industry employee is $93,000, compared to $47,400 for the private sector.