Last fall, as thousands of refugees poured into Berlin daily, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche spoke of a possible “economic miracle.”
These newcomers, he said, were young, well-trained and highly motivated. Just the people Germany was looking for.
But now that attitude appears to be hopelessly optimistic. In July, sobering data emerged that Germany’s 30 largest companies had hired a total of only 54 refugees. Deutsche Post had taken 50, software giant SAP two, and pharmaceutical firm Merck two more.
The 30 largest companies promised 300 training places, but could only fill a tiny proportion. Out of an expected 2,700 internships, just 500 materialized. Again Deutsche Post outperformed everyone.
ThyssenKrupp, BMW and Daimler did their best, but clearly expectations were too high.