Germany’s automakers are in crisis. Electrification and competition from China are booting thousands of highly skilled workers back onto the job market. Luckily, many are eyeing a sector that can’t hire fast enough: defense.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, arms manufacturers have experienced something of a reversal of fortune. Once associated with the likes of "sin industries” such as tobacco and gambling, these companies are now seen as attractive potential employers — and particularly if they’re helping fight the war in Ukraine.

Hensoldt, which makes air defense sensors crucial to intercepting Russian missiles in Ukraine, has seen an influx of new employees, mainly engineers, coming from carmakers. "We benefit from the problems in other industries when building up our workforce,” said former CEO Thomas Mueller, who was succeeded by Oliver Doerre in April. The company is planning to hire 700 new employees across divisions this year.