Think about it, when was the last time you spoke to a German programmer? OK OK, ignore that cool bunch of guys from AutoScout24 who you met at QCon, when was the last time you met a German programmer who lived and worked in London? Exactly. None!
You don’t even find any working in Deutsche Bank! Or in the queue outside Wurst on Cornhill, you’d expect that would be a good place to find some right? Wrong. Over the years I’ve tried to tempt a number of Germans with specialist skills to leave their homeland and relocate to London but I have had zero success in this area. They tend to just politely decline my headhunt call / email and stubbornly remain where they are. I did once get a German from Nuremburg all the way through to final interview with Barclays Capital – trying to do my bit for Germano-English relations – but unfortunately it fell through at the final stages.
I was on the Oxford Tube at the weekend and sat next to two Germans, one BA and one Java developer, and I asked them what the deal was. They confirmed what I had suspected, that in the main they are all very happy in Deutschland.
We agreed that a lot of it came down to economics, Germany is rich country and for a like for like position they could probably expect either similar or maybe even less pay in London. Consequently there is a vibrant market for programmers and lots of interesting work available. There is also a high standard of living across the black, red and gold country.
We discussed whether or not it was the old North / South and East split in the EU, as the Southern and Eastern European countries are well represented in London. But France, Netherlands, Belgium and to a lesser extent Scandinavia are well represented here.
They also don’t seem to be drawn to the big cities and just as often live and work in small towns. There doesn’t seem to be a culture of wanting to live and work in an international environment, whereas I find the French, Dutch, Belgians and Scandies have a strong culture of seeking an international life experience.
So come on my lederhosen-clad, sausage-chomping friends come over to London and share in the wonderful experience of living in the truly international city that is London.