illustration by Belle Mellor

So Germany, what are these secrets? Recently, it has been apparent to us that the chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been working her magic in transforming a troubled nation, no longer than 69 years ago, into a nation where employment is thriving and in tandem so is their economy. Employment and its benefits are key to Germany’s economic security during this crisis that began in 2008. Therefore, employment is how Germany will remain one of the least affected by the crisis in Europe.

Stiglitz, J (2009) argued the reason the US’ economy has been so poor in recent years is due to the ‘weakening of automatic stabilizers’. Therefore, Germany managed to do exactly what Stiglitz suggested, by merely increasing their aggregate demand. According to The World Bank , in 2012 Germany only had 5.4% of their total labour force in unemployment, which was a steady rise from 7.1% seen in 2010. If we compare this to the figure from 2012 of the US of 8.1% and that of the UK of 7.9%, we can clearly see that from Germany’s dedication to their employment policy, the nation is excelling during an economic crisis. Although it is argued by Standing (2011) that the majority of those employed are in ‘mini-jobs’ which then create the illusion of employment, this is however seen in Germany as job flexibility and even the citizens that part take in this style of work claim the same security and legislation protected benefits as those workers in full time employment.

It’s not just the millions in employment that makes this nation what it has become; it’s also the benefits in which the employees reap out of working. Germany’s view on employment and employee benefits puts this nation in pole position for being the best in Europe. With a national minimum wage of €8.50 (£6.80) being implemented in January 2015, compared to that of the UK’s which is currently £6.50 . Achievements keep on rolling for the Germans, as Germany’s healthcare is ‘77% government funded and 23% privately funded’ meaning that 85% of national employees gain health insurance which is protected by their statute laws. This is amazing for the German employees, if we compare these figures employees in the US with private insurance; it only reaches a mere 61% of the population under 65 years of age. Therefore, it is highly evident that in terms of employee benefits, Germany is the place to be.

All the citizens in employment and their benefits lead to the accumulation of capital, Berberoglu (2002) states that this ‘demands unfettered flexibility and mobility’, which Germany, through their employment levels have achieved. We can see the evidence of this as Germany produced a GDP of $3.635trillion in 2013, compared to the UK’s $2.521 trillion in the same year, therefore this production of capital through employment has worked in the favour of the Germans, as they came out with one of the highest GDP’s in Europe. So its clear employment has been the secret to Germany’s success all along..

Claire Henry

Berberoglu, B (2002) Labor and Capital in the age of Globalization. (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC) pp 138-139

CDC (2014) Health Insurance Coverage. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-insurance.htm [Accessed 31 October 2014].

Global Employee Benefits (2012) http://www.globalemployeebenefits.co.uk/#/germany/4545221604 [Accessed 25/10/14].

Gov.uk (2014) National Minimum Wage Rates. https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates [Accessed 8 November 2014].

Standing, G (2001) The Precariat; the new dangerous class. (Bloomsbury Acedemic) pp 15.

Stiglitz, J (2009). ‘The global crisis, social protection and jobs’, in International Labour Review. Vol 148, (No 1-2) pp. 5-11

The World Bank (2013) Germany. Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/country/germany [Accessed 31 October 2014].

The World Bank (2013) United Kingdom. Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-kingdom [Accessed 31 October 14].

The World Bank (2012) Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (modeled ILO estimate. Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.TOTL.ZS/countries [Accessed: 5 November 2014].

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