Next Wave Germany dropped in on the world's largest industrial fair held on the Hannover fairgrounds this week and found a great place for job-hunting scientists. Despite the recently announced downward correction of the annual growth rate prognosis for Germany, the industrial sector is still optimistic about the current economic situation. And so the demand for skilled scientists remains high.

Scientists looking for work will certainly benefit from the presence of most German research institutions on the fairgrounds. "The current job market situation for chemists, physicists, and biologists is quite good, especially in areas such as chemical process development, microsystems technology, and biomedical research," says Siegfried Voigt of the Karlsruhe Research Center for Technology and Environment. Andreas Staak of the Center for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle agrees. Both centers are members of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers in Germany, which conduct research in a wide range of technologies in worldwide projects.

But the research institutes are facing stiff competition from the private sector, which is more good news for young scientists. "The industrial sector needs scientists again, so we are competing with industry. And most positions we can offer are only temporary and not equal in salary compared to industrial wages," says Voigt. Green industries are particularly eager to recruit young scientists, thanks to a favorable political climate and a growing market for renewable energy sources. "When the German Renewable Energy Law [Erneuerbare Energien-Gesetz] came into effect a year ago, both the solar and wind energy sectors really got a push," explains Andrea Hein, director for marketing and communications of Enron Wind, a large manufacturer of wind turbines. "We are desperately trying to find qualified people in engineering, project development, and maintenance service worldwide," Hein tells Next Wave Germany.

The fair ends 28 April, and Next Wave Germany encourages those who haven't found their dream job to spend the last Saturday of the fair strolling from stand to stand. The large area makes that a daunting task, but it is well worth it. If you do visit, don't miss the Deutsche Messe AG initiative called "Go for High Tech," launched in cooperation with several large industrial groups such as the German Association of Engineers (VDI). More than 250 companies have agreed to participate. Everyone who is currently interested in a career in high-tech engineering is invited to get firsthand information on career opportunities from the companies' human resources and recruitment departments. More than 15,000 students have already registered for this career day so far. The Deutsche Messe AG is planning to expand these activities at other leading fairs like the CeBIT as well, as CEO Klaus Goehrmann announced at a press conference. The industrial interest groups are supporting this initiative; they know that young blood is crucial to survive in the globalized market.