Recruit Sales in Germany Update Bulletin February 2024

Listed Under: News & Bulletins

Recruiting in Germany Bulletin – February 2024

Some facts about Germany

Germany has a population of eighty-four million people.
Germany is the seventh-largest country in Europe. Covering an area of 137,847 square miles, of which 34,836 square miles is covered by land and 3,011 square miles contains water.
The economy of Germany is a highly developed social market economy. The country accounts for about 28% of the euro area economy according to the IMF. 
In Germany the share of industry in gross value added is 22.9 per cent, making it the highest among the G7 countries. The strongest sectors are vehicle construction, electrical industry, general engineering, and the chemical industry.
Germany is one of the world’s largest motor car producers. China and the USA are the two biggest export markets for German cars.
Germany is a premier location for organising international trade fairs. Two-thirds of the major global industrial events take place in Germany. Ten million visitors attend around 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions each year.


An end to the current slowdown is not yet in sight. Following a contraction of 0.3% in the previous year, the German economy continues to face the spectre of recession in 2024. According to some reports Germany is already in recession.

Geopolitical risks, coupled with high interest rates, an energy crisis, a cooling global economy and domestic uncertainties arising from the recent Federal Constitutional Court ruling on the federal budget, are dampening corporate investment sentiment.

In addition, a high level of employee illness, several strikes, and some perceived intransigence on the part of the ruling coalition are indicators that all is not yet as it would like to be.

The situation becomes even more apparent when examining industrial production/output. In November, it experienced a 4.8% decline compared to the same month in the previous year.

The enduring high energy prices played and are still playing a pivotal role in slowing down production lines.

Although it must be said, these prices have recently eased, they still remain above pre-energy crisis levels. Consequently, it is unsurprising that energy-intensive industries (Steel for example-electricity) decreased their production by more than 17% since the beginning of 2022.

The decline in production has not gone unnoticed in terms of capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector. It continues to decrease, reaching only 82% in October, a decrease of 2.9 percentage points compared to the previous year.

The downturn was particularly pronounced in energy-intensive sectors such as steelmaking.

Sentiment among German companies seems also to have deteriorated further since the beginning of the year. The ifo Business Climate Index fell to 85.2 points in January, down from 86.3 points in December. Companies assessed their current situation as worse and their expectations for the months ahead were again more pessimistic. 

Whilst there are some bright spots, such as declining inflation and the looming interest rate shift by central banks, business sentiment has currently taken a hit.

German Exports February 2024

Sentiment in the German export Market has somewhat declined. The ifo Export Expectations fell to -8.4 points in January, down from -7.1 points in December. The German export economy is off to a worse start in the new year, and an improvement is not in sight.

Most industries still expect exports to decline. This includes the core manufacturing industries such as the motor car sector, machinery and equipment manufacturers, and electrical goods manufacturers.

The metal industry and manufacturers of plastic and rubber goods are also reporting a decline in orders from abroad.

However sharp contrast, the food industry and beverage manufacturers are expecting their exports to grow. Furniture manufacturers are also expecting higher export sales.

Employment February 2024

Germany's stagnating GDP made 2023 a difficult year to get hired, with a number of the country's bigger companies announcing hiring freezes, some even announcing big layoffs.

On January 1, 2024, the minimum wage increased from €12.00 to €12.41 per hour. 

Germany's seasonally adjusted jobless rate held steady for a third consecutive period at 5.8% in January 2024, remaining at its highest level since June 2021 but coming in slightly below market forecasts of 5.9%.


If you are looking to recruit experienced sales staff to enable you to exploit new or existing markets within Germany, the UK, Europe or further afield, please call us for a no-obligation discussion.

*Please note the information contained herein is an aggregate of news stories, by commentators widely available - readers should seek independent verification, and this in no way represents the views or opinions of Standley Associates.

We will continue to check the news reports and will provide monthly summaries of the trends