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Tackling the skills shortage in Germany

Posted on September 5, 2019
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skills shortage in Germany

Germany is looking at a shortage of skilled workers in various occupations. Studies predict it may face a skills shortage of 3 million workers by 2030. The reasons for this are the increase in the number of aged citizens and the decreasing birth rate.

Though the skills shortage is not very apparent at present, certain regions and sectors are already finding it difficult to fill certain positions. There is a shortage of skills in STEM and health-related occupations. And companies in the regions of southern and eastern Germany are finding it difficult to find workers.

As we mentioned earlier, a prime reason for the skills shortage is the ageing population. According to demographic studies, the working-age population (people between 20-64) will come down by 3.9 million by 2030 and by 2060 the number of people of working age will reduce by 10.2 million.

To solve this crisis, the German government is encouraging immigrants with professional qualifications to come not only for work but also train refugees and harness their potential.

It is estimated that 352 out of 801 occupations face a skills shortage at present. The affected sectors are engineering, healthcare and IT sectors. There will be a shortage of skilled workers with a vocational qualification. Occupations that will be impacted by skills shortage include:

  • Medical services, engineering (mechanical, automotive, and electrical engineering), software development/programming, supply and waste management, STEM-related fields
  • Electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, toolmakers welders, etc.
  • Healthcare and elderly care professionals

Companies will face a skills shortage while replacing their retiring workers. As for the future employment growth till 2030, the highest growth is expected in farm and related labor. Research indicates that in the period to 2030 there will be employment growth in the services sector like professional, administrative or financial services. These jobs will need medium-level qualifications. The jobs in these fields include office associate professionals or sales personnel.

The table below gives details of the occupations that face a skills shortage between 2018 – 2030:

Name of profession Estimated number of openings
Associate professionals– they perform technical and related tasks associated with research and the application in science and art 5,017,700
Clerks– functions include stenography, data entry, typing, keeping records or performing secretarial duties. 2,910,700
Professionals- include health professionals, ICT professionals, legal & social professionals, researchers & engineers or teaching professionals 3,803,300
Elementary workers- include agricultural laborers, cleaners and helpers, technical laborers or food preparation helpers 2,574,900
Service and sales workers- include sales personnel, personal service providers and care providers 3,539,200
Trade workers- include construction workers, metal and machinery workers or electro engineering, workers 2,282,500

The German government is making efforts to solve the skills shortage by making changes in immigration policies and labor laws. They hope that these proactive measures will help them be better prepared to face future challenges.

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