The 2013/05/29 at 08:55
Marie Luginsland, in Germany
Never have so few Germans thought about becoming self-employed. Should this trend join the list of economic indicators, namely for the job market? According to the NOM EN ALLEMAND A AJOUTER (SME research institute), Germany recorded only 346,000 company creations in 2012, compared with 401,000 in 2011. This trend is confirmed by the number of interviews carried out by the Chambers of Commerce. In 2012, only 250,000 persons opened the doors of CCIs to obtain information on company creation, in other words, one-quarter the figure from one year earlier. Their numbers have even fallen by 28 % in the space of five years.
The DIHK, the federation of German Chambers of Commerce, recently publishing its 2012 statistics, is keen to explain this evolution by the healthiness of the job market. In March this year, the unemployment rate came to 7.3 %, in other words 3 million persons. However, in times of crisis, puts forward the DIHK, company creation stands out as a last-resort solution. In this country where unemployment benefits are only paid for a one-year period to under-50-year-olds and for a maximum of 2 years to people up to 58 years, the jobless prefer to become self-employed rather than depend on welfare.
Drop in “unintentional” company creators
The trend towards lower interest in setting up companies stands to continue according to DIHK statistics forecasting 345,000 new companies by the end of the year. An all-time low ever since the country’s reunification!
Every year, two-thirds of new companies are in the services and banking-insurance sectors, an option favoured by the jobless due to reduced investments required. However, the DIHK analysis shows a clear-cut disaffection for the transport and consultancy sectors, where CCIs have recorded 30 % fewer requests. For these categories of activity, it seems that the employee status is favoured whenever the unemployed person finds a new job opportunity.
In addition, the DIHK statistics show that the number of persons who set up companies wilfully is as great as the number who do so as they have no other solution. “We see company-creation candidates who take this decision out of conviction rather than frustration,” confirms Eric Schweitzer, President of the DIHK who is also enthusiastic about a slight increase in the industrial sector – 6 % compared with 4 % in 2010 – for company creations.
Research creates jobs
The President of the DIHK detects another positive tendency, the emergence in large cities of a very dynamic young start-up sector in the domain of new technologies and Internet. “Of course they only make up 3 % of all company creations in the last five years, but they create twice more jobs than average,” points out Eric Schweitzer.
This observation counters many widely accepted ideas. Indeed, although their staff numbers are low, the sectors of innovation and research have, thanks to their dynamism, a real impact on employment. In this way, a recent survey by the ZEW (Centre for European Economic Research) notes that the setting up of scientific companies generates 3.4 % more jobs than scientific labs in the sectors of industry and services.
These “spinoffs” spawned by universities or research centres not only increase their staff numbers more rapidly but also employ more people during their start-off phase: 6.8 employees compared with 5.1 by their counterparts in the industry or service sectors. On the basis that Germany has 1,200 new spinoffs every year, this represents an average of 5,300 new jobs every year.