Continued from page 1

Some companies have started recruitment drives in crisis-hit countries. After organizing two job fairs in Ireland this year, Globalfoundries, a semiconductor manufacturing company in Dresden, hired and brought 30 Irish engineers to the eastern German city.

Ivan O’Connor was one of them. The 31-year-old technology engineer from Ballinhassig in Cork started working for Globalfoundries last December.

“I really like living and working here, the quality of life is very good and I was seeking a job when the opportunity came up,” O’Connor said in an email to the AP.

His move to Germany was helped by the fact that the office language at Globalfoundries, as an international company, is English.

That’s an exception, as most German companies expect foreign employees to speak German. The Goethe Institute, which offers German language classes around the globe, has noticed more Europeans seeking to overcome that language barrier.

At Barcelona’s Goethe Institute, the number of language students has gone up by 54 percent in the past two years and more than 70 percent of the students say they’re learning German to improve their career chances, said Diar Amin, a spokesman for the Barcelona Goethe Institute. The situation is similar in other Spanish cities, the institute says.

With a university degree in hand and not a job in sight in his native Barcelona, 22-year-old Enrique Serratosa saw brushing up on his German as the first step toward finding work in Germany.

“The situation here is very hard, unemployment is high, and it’s all just getting worse and worse,” said Serratosa, who signed a contract with chemical company Wacker in Munich after taking language lessons to supplement his college German.

“About 80 percent of my friends are looking for jobs abroad and many of them want to go to Germany — we can learn a lot there and salaries are also higher.”