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Siemens to slash 7,800 jobs in restructure

Siemens AG, Europe's engineering giant, announced Friday it would be cutting 7,800 jobs globally, with 3,300 of layoffs happening in Germany.

Siemens to slash 7,800 jobs in restructure
Photo: APA/dpa

It’s not clear yet how many jobs will be affected in Austria, where Siemens currently employs 10,400 people.

In a statement, the company said it was hoping to "streamline administrative and overhead functions".

"With our business concept Vision 2020, we want to bring the company back to sustainable growth and close the profitability gap between us and our competitors," said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

The move is part of the company's ongoing restructuring plan to find €1 billion of savings, which started in May 2014. The company hopes to achieve that through innovation and smart investment.

Janina Kugel, a board member and labour director, said the company wanted to start talks with employee representatives about the cuts in Germany as soon as possible and "search constructively for socially responsible solutions".

Last month, Siemens posted a 25 percent drop in its net profit in the first quarter of the fiscal year, which it blamed on interest rates, but falling oil prices also meant struggles in its important energy sector.  

It was previously announced that 1,200 jobs would be cut from the Siemens Energy business.

In 2013, 15,000 people lost their jobs at Siemens under Kaeser. His predecessor, Peter Löscher had cut 17,000 workers during his time at the helm.

In all, some 343,000 people work for Siemens globally. Around a third  (115,000) of those employed with the company are in Germany.

IG Metall, the union that represents many Siemens workers, did not have immediate reaction, though chairwoman Birgit Steinborn said "I'm sick of companies presenting job cuts as though there were no alternative solutions."

In unrelated news, global IT solutions powerhouse IBM is laying off 26 percent of its workforce around the world, as part of Operation Chrome, according to an unconfirmed report from Forbes Magazine.  IBM analysts were expecting the layoffs, although surprised by their scope, as the company has experienced 11 straight quarters of declining revenues.

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Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

Self-employed migrants - or those building businesses in Austria - contribute hugely to the local economy, a new study has found.

Migration Economy: Who are the migrants starting businesses in Austria?

People born outside of Austria rely, in large part, on self-employment or opening up businesses (and then employing other migrants) as a path to working in the country, a study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Studies (IHS) on behalf of the Integration Fund (OeIF) found.

The study, Migration Economy in Vienna (Migrantische Ökonomien in Wien), also found that some nationalities tend to stick to specific industries – which could be partially explained by how migrants rely on informal networks of people of the same origin to start a business.

READ ALSO: Being self-employed in Austria: What you need to know

For example, people from the former Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey often work independently in the construction sector. People from China are strongly concentrated in gastronomy, along with people of Turkish, Syrian, Thai and Maghreb origin.

Migrants originally from Asia and Africa, and especially India, Egypt and Afghanistan, are concentrated mainly in postal and courier services, including bicycle messenger services. Finally, the study found that people from Turkey and former Yugoslavia also appear more often than average registered as taxi drivers.

How much money do they bring in?

Figures from Austria’s Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer) showed that business owners in Vienna with a migration background generate € 8.3 billion in revenue and create around 45,500 jobs. 

Plus, these companies pay around € 3.7 billion every year in taxes and duties.

Walter Ruck, President of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, said: “Companies with a migrant background not only enrich the diversity of the corporate landscape in Vienna, but they are also an economic factor.”

READ MORE: Diversity and jobs: How migrants contribute to Vienna’s economy

Who are these migrants?

Part of the survey involved a qualitative research with migrant entrepreneurs in Vienna, but also a comprehensive quantitative data analysis of registered businesses.

Many of the entrepreneurs interviewed were first generation (meaning they were not born in Austria), and most were between 26 and 35 years old and male. In total, the small businesses surveyed employed two to a maximum of four employees, most of whom were related to the owner.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The main Austrian ‘tax traps’ foreigners should be aware of

The entrepreneurs with a migrant background who were interviewed generally either did not have higher school-leaving qualifications (known in Austria as the Matura) or have not yet had their foreign certificates recognised in Austria and therefore do not work in their sector of study. 

First-generation migrants, in particular, tend to have lower educational qualifications, which has a negative impact on their chances in the labour market, the study said. Because of that, the respondents named a lack of occupational alternatives as one of the decisive factors for starting a business.

Additionally, many of the respondents said they relied on a network of people from their own nationality for help setting up a business. Many of them weren’t aware of the support offered by official bodies, including the Chamber of Commerce. 

READ ALSO: What is the new cost of living ‘credit’ for self-employed people in Austria?

The study concluded that language barriers and some cultural aspects played a role, but since most entrepreneurs were interested in getting more detailed information on starting and running businesses, there was potential for better communication and targeting by the public offices.

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