Happy to talk about Corporate about diversity, but lateral entrants often have a difficult time with Application, How can you still get started? And how does a humanities scientist even become CEO?

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Opportunities for cross-borderers

Some time ago I was invited to a panel discussion at ESCP Europe Berlin. The topic: ways in the Economy for career changers. With exciting results.

The question we asked ourselves: What opportunities do career changers actually have in business today? On the one hand, like my colleague Peter Kraushaar, Business Training and Brand Consultant at 9p strategy, noted above all larger companies with pronounced diversity management or management consultancies that are open to lateral entrants who often come here from the humanities.

And Sebestian Horndasch, Program Manager at the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, also notes that newcomers are frequently sought after. And even a humanities scholar can become CEO of a DAX company. But, he also limits: Of course, they also need additional qualifications.

Special knowledge and additional qualifications needed

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This also applies to them IT-Sector that is one of the most permeable for career changers At least I know a surprising number of humanities scholars from orchid subjects, which today are more technically oriented Job have. This is also due to the high pressure to innovate, which means that technical development is progressing faster today than training courses can keep up.

As a result, programmers with specialized knowledge, such as touchscreen programming, are often asked to find their way out. In addition to rare specialists, people are also in demand here who are ready and able to get involved.

What is the chance for a career changer?

One thinks accordingly fast to the issue of a shortage of skilled workers, a catchphrase that has long dominated the media and also the politics of the federal government. And the question arises: Can the career changer help?

As for example in the ARD reportage “The fairy tale of skilled labor“, in which I played a key role, it would be a mistake to speak of a widespread shortage of skilled workers. That is not uncommon Problem homemade by the companies, for example because they offer an unattractive job and/or location. And not a few companies then look for their skilled workers at reduced rates Costs abroad. The logic of a shortage of skilled workers = an opportunity for career changers should therefore be treated with caution.

The communication needs to be improved

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In the run-up to the discussion, we were asked to make a statement. I advocated improving the Communication between companies and young professionals to reduce frustration on both sides. The problem is already evident in Jobs, which are often inaccurate and for Candidatewho do not know the code are formulated. I also recently wrote a blog post on the mismatching between applicants and companies.

Because companies usually see many disadvantages when they hire career changers, but they could benefit just as much from it, keyword Innovation. Anyone who thinks differently brings a breath of fresh air into the company. Unfortunately, however, many companies are outdated circles of like-minded people, because many managers and HR prefer to hire people who are similar to them. Unfortunately, this very human characteristic means that it is particularly difficult for those who think differently, i.e. lateral entrants. And many companies are stewing in their own juice.

Recruiting processes must change

In order for career chances to have a chance, recruitment needs to change in general. Frequently, non-professional applications are sorted out so that the applicants have no chance to present themselves in person.

An approach that is already being practiced in some companies is that instead of the HR department, the Employees, so that Team yourself, recommend new colleagues or even hire them completely yourself. As a rule, they concentrate less on the technical aspects qualifications but on who really fits into the team.

What can transversers do?

But how can newcomers do it to convince companies of their abilities. What should one graduate from the field z. B. German studies or Chinese studies guess if he or she decides to switch to business? Is there a patent remedy at all?

On the one hand, you should reflect on your very specific skills. As a humanities scholar, these are, for example, ethical thinking, corporate responsibility, language skills or intercultural skills Competencies – especially Chinese or – a bit simpler – French in everyday business life but shockingly few People.

Leakiness as a deficiency

And as Peter Kraushaar and Sebastian Horndasch aptly commented: Without the special knowledge that the company needs, you have no chance as a career changer. Then, as a newcomer, you also have to think carefully about what you really want: Only those who are convinced of their actions can convince others.

There might be a big one here weakness from career changers: that they are often very erratic and unsteady, or at least give that impression. There are many companies Anxiety, the employee will soon be gone again.

Humanities scholar as CEO?

Only those who manage to counteract this fear with employers also has a chance for career changers. This is usually achieved through self-initiative and entrepreneurial thinking.

The philosopher Steven Affeldt even recently put it bluntly that people with degrees in Accounting, become an accountant; People with a philosophy degree, but CEOs. I think that's a bit exaggerated. Surely a CEO needs visions, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit – traits that are commonly thought to be lacking in accountants with a bean counter mentality, which may or may not be the case.


However, an entrepreneurial mindset does not necessarily translate into a liberal arts mindset Study on the contrary: studying generally helps you to learn to work independently and, for example, to struggle through a thesis. However, as a humanities scholar, economic thinking is often literally taken away from you.

This also has to do with the fact that entrepreneurial thinking in Germany is generally more negative seen and the picture is changing only slowly, for example through the introduction of entrepreneurship courses - including at the ESCP.

3 tips for career changers

In the end, we should give each three tips, which should be taken into consideration by those who wish to reorient themselves. Here are my tips.

  1. Think carefully about where to go. Collecting experience.
  2. Make contacts, ask people who do it, where you want to go - networks, networks, networks.
  3. And in the end, when you realize that you can not get on with your qualifications like this: Maybe you have a further education or postgraduate studies, eg in business or technical areas.

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