(Illustration: Bitkom)

German companies are increasingly looking across their country's borders for experts that can help them implement new digital technologies.

According to a survey by Germany's high-tech association Bitkom, about three-quarters of companies are looking to recruit foreign staff with digital skills. Every second company hopes to gain competitive advantage this way.

The German auto industry was urged last week to adopt a global approach to software development, which is seen as the key to its future.

Ricky Hudi, head of electrical and electronics development at premium carmaker Audi, said at the Automobile Electronics Congress in Ludwigsburg, that car companies cannot find all the talent they need in Germany. "We will have to become much more international," he said. "Acting globally is a must in software development and in acquisitions policy."

Germany, where the big domestic auto industry is of particular importance to the overall economy, also suffers from a relatively underdeveloped pool of digital talent. According to the Bitkom survey, 60 pc of all HR directors and business managers believe that this is a problem.

"In the past, business processes were digitalized," said Bitkom Managing Director Bernhard Rohleder, "but today completely new digital business models are created." Rohleder said in a press statement that this raises the requirements for company managers.

Said the Bitkom chief: "We need to make sure that the world's best digital experts want to - and are able to - work here."