Germany survived the 2008 recession in good position thanks to their strong economy and manufacturing base. Unemployment in Germany is lower now than it was in 2008. German companies are generally run by individuals specializing in various technical areas. For example, a car company is more likely to be run by an expert mechanical engineer in Germany than an expert accountant or finance individual. This technical nature often extends down the chain of command for other key positions as well. For example, responsibility is often delegated to another technically sound individual, who then expects his or her manager to leave them alone to perform the task with little oversight. People from other cultures often view this approach as distant and cold. In addition, socializing is much more common at the peer level than up or down the hierarchy in Germany.
Meetings in Germany generally start on time with all members in attendance having well researched any aspects of the meeting that touch on their area of expertise. It is often assumed by people outside Germany that “German businesspeople have their minds made up before the meeting even starts,” but this is not the case. Germans take a sense of pride in their subject matter and want to be as well prepared as possible, so they can contribute and make key points during the meeting. During a meeting, it is expected that individuals will contribute when the discussion touches on their area of expertise. This is an overriding theme in German business, where well-prepared specialists are groomed and preferred to generalists. This line of thinking also extends into teamwork in Germany. Each team member answers to the leader, but each tends to focus on his or her individual technical task, with little overlapping conversations, at least in technical nature, with other team members.
Communication in Germany tends to be direct and to the point. Supervisors tend not to sugarcoat their reviews or requirements for subordinates, instead informing them in direct words their performance reviews, expectations, and so forth. In addition, when interviewing a German worker for a job, they will tend to describe in clear terms what they are capable of doing, rather than speaking in vague terms like in other cultures. German workers tend not to oversell themselves in an interview; if they claim they are capable of a task, you can generally bet they are capable.
Dress in Germany is professional but not as clearly defined as in the United Kingdom, USA, or many Asian nations. Women often wear dress pants, rather than dresses or skirts, and men often wear sport jackets, as opposed to black or blue suits. Despite having a woman president as leader of Germany, women in Germany still lag behind women in other European nations in securing top-level management opportunities, partly because women are not majoring in the technical fields as commonly as men; senior-level jobs generally go to individuals heavily trained in key technical areas.