I am celebrating 5 years in Germany. Having a permanent residence permit for some time already, I, have no visa issues whenever I want to change the job. Neither have I any issues with the German language, therefore, the communication with the colleagues and clients is never the problem. As being a “diverse” company became a part of any company’s PR in the last few years, I would like to write down for you several phrases from the real interviews I had, including those from DAX companies and Trier 2 consulting firms:
“You have a very interesting profile…and I would love to have some colour in my team”
“We want some more diversity in our company..We have two Indians who started working for us last week!”
“Sure, we have international colleagues for you! We already have one Italian who moved to Germany when she was little”
“..and we have support groups for LGBT, disabled..and women!”
“It was a really good presentation. And we need women in our team!”
At some point, it became very hard for me to accept the fact that I was being considered not for my skills, but for being a woman and a foreigner. Like if I would have a disability certificate in addition to that, I would be an ideal candidate.
This is an issue only few foreigners would talk about in public because “a job is a job”. However, this pattern of the internationalization and pro-feminine employment has another side. Many global companies in Germany have an extremely high percentage of German employees – which makes them international, but not diverse. Being diverse for companies, on the other side, means not only a percentage of foreigners, but also the level of their acceptance within the company. You see, “tolerance” is when you take a foreign employee and tolerate the fact that she or he thinks and does work differently – because, for instance, she or he is a very good programmer. “Acceptance” is when you accept that the person comes from a different culture instead of tolerating it and turn it into your advantage. Because homogeneous teams make homogeneous decisions, and no company wants their teams to take the roads obvious to any competitor. Being able to spread the “acceptance” within the team and the company is what the international leadership really means.
In the era of collaboration when interdependencies grow like never before, you future employees will value diversity. But not the diversity on paper with percentages of women and international employees, which any hiring manager will tell you by heart even at 3 a.m., but the real diversity of minds, cultures and work styles. Even if your percentage of a specific gender will not be to your liking at the moment, it will be forgiven for an open-minded flexible working culture. Just believe me 😉