Most German companies are unprepared for new privacy legislation that is being prepared by the government.

A market analysis by ROC Deutschland found that 80 pc ofthe IT systems used in German companies wouldn't be able to handle the pending new laws.

The main problem is that personal information on job applicants are existing staff cannot be deleted properly, the consultants found.

"New IT standards will be a key requirement for dealing with employee data in German companies," saidROC consultant Roman Seeberger. He added that a quality assurance program has to be in place from the first time employee data are entered into a company's systems. Without such a program, the data cannot be managed in accordance with the planned legislation.

ROC Deutschland is the German arm of British IT consultants ROC.