Germany is experiencing a significant skills shortage, especially when it comes to technical roles such as IT developers. According to German tech industry association Bitkom, 55,000 IT positions were unfilled in 2017.
And the situation seems to be getting worse. The number of vacancies was up 8% on the previous year and 75% of IT HR Managers surveyed said they were experiencing a shortage of candidates in 2017, up from 70% the year before.
Against this backdrop, TCS Germany has come to regard its graduate program as a vitally important way of identifying and developing the next generation of talent.
But the scheme is about much more than learning the skills you would expect such as programming and business skills. Since 2017, a key part of the year is spent in India alongside local TCS colleagues.
Participants report the experience as being one of the highlights of their training year, as both the German and Indian staff show each other different cultural perspectives and approaches to problem solving.
During their time In India, the German graduates spend time working on real-life challenges – such as designing and developing working models of prototype Internet of Things enabled fridges.
Christoph Weitzel, who was part of the first graduate group to spend time in India, says that initially the difference in approach between the Indian and German participants was stark. “While the German part of the group was constantly stressed that nothing seems to work and not getting on with the project, our Indian colleagues were pretty relaxed. Somehow they trusted that everything would work out fine in the end.”
Their faith seemed well placed, when the design was finished on time. Sherwan Barzange, another graduate on the scheme said the experience taught him a valuable lesson. “Our typically German, over-structured mindset might not be the only way to solve problems.”
The learning was very much a two-way process though.
The Indian staff also learnt a great deal from their visitors. They were impressed by the Germans’ ability to be “highly curious, calm and above all flexible”.
A global workplace
By bringing together different parts of its global workforce, TCS is not only sharing differing cultural approaches to problem solving, but helping to develop a workforce which is much more internationally focused.
Both TCS and its employees benefit. TCS is sharing the knowledge and skills that already exist within its organization at the same time as tackling the challenging recruitment issue in Germany.
The graduates are getting an extraordinary intercultural experience that will help them work on any international projects they are involved with in their career.
After the highly successful 2017 graduate intake, TCS is now preparing its recruitment round for 2018, with successful candidates heading to India for eight to 10 weeks. Graduates can apply for the three different streams: SAP consulting, digital technology, or IT consulting.
It is a truly unique opportunity and one which will bring ongoing benefits for all involved.
As Christoph Weitzel says, “Our trainee program in India was an experience we will never forget – it has changed our views and thoughts in so many ways.”