Trends towards globalisation and relocation among highly qualified people

The globalisation of economic activities and the associated international division of labour has progressed extremely dynamically in recent decades. Whereas until the 1980s mainly simple manufacturing activities were located abroad or relocated there, at the latest since the 1990s more highly qualified activities have also been increasingly affected by internationalisation. The motives and modes of globalisation are quite different, with different effects also on the quality and quantity of the value added and employment of multinational companies remaining in Germany. The aim of this study is therefore to gain in-depth insights into the patterns and trends of internationalisation of highly qualified activities by means of an explorative approach. The main cornerstones of the approach are qualitative expert interviews in selected companies. These are flanked by a data screening on the globalisation of R&D in order to be able to make a rough classification into the overall emerging developments in this context. The qualitative expert interviews are conducted with R&D managers and separately with works council representatives in order to obtain a balanced view of the company and employee sides. These topics are the main ones:

Status and scope of the global settlement of R&D activities
Motives and strategies for locating activities abroad, especially in the areas of R&D and software development
Development and trends of the described activities in the last ten years with regard to target countries and strategies
Re-concentrations, relocations or recollections of R&D or software development activities at German locations
The role of the megatrend Industry 4.0 (especially the increasing digitalization and networking of business processes) in terms of globalization or concentration of activities at existing sites