Skills shortage in Germany: definition, background, solutions

“Time is short ”,“ Civil Service Association warns of a dramatic shortage of skilled workers ”and“ Germany needs 260,000 immigrants every year ”- The headlines around the shortage of skilled workers in Germany have been more and more alarming for a few years now. And not without reason. Indeed, in more and more professions companies have problems finding suitable employees. We reveal in which sectors the shortage of skilled workers is particularly high, where the causes lie and how companies can react.

Regional and industry-specific differences

The term shortage of skilled workers describes a situation in the economy in which a large number of vacant jobs cannot be filled because there is a significantly smaller number of available workers. The shortage of skilled workers has been clearly felt in Germany for several years. The Cologne Institute for Economic Research comes to the conclusion that two-thirds of all jobs that require a university degree or vocational training are already difficult or impossible to fill – and a further increase is to be expected.

So far, there can be no talk of a nationwide shortage of skilled workers. It occurs specific to certain branches or regions. The areas of nursing and medicine, as well as craft professions, are particularly affected. But the shortage of skilled workers is also widespread in professions such as mathematics, engineering, and natural sciences, as well as in technology. There are also huge regional differences within Germany. The federal states in the south of Germany as well as in the former East part of Germany are particularly confronted with the problem, particularly Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia.

Skill shortages in Germany – the causes

Researchers cite various reasons as possible causes for the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, above all the increasing aging of society. According to current estimates, the number of people of working age in Germany will decrease by 3.9 million to a total of 45.9 million by 2030. By 2060 there will be 10.2 million fewer people. The problem: society is getting older, while dropping birth rates means that not enough potential skilled workers succeed. What´s more is the progressive digitalization in all areas of the economy, which requires highly complex expertise in new fields of work. Older employees, in particular, find it difficult to acquire this expertise and therefore the availability of qualified skilled workers decreases.

Possible consequences

This development could have disastrous consequences for companies. After all, workers are still the most important economic resource. Skills ensure a company’s competitiveness of a company. If there is a shortage of qualified specialists, economic growth will fail to appear, which will initially harm the companies themselves and cause long-term damage to the entire economy.

What companies can do

Given the ongoing demographic change and its possible consequences, companies should strive to secure their skilled labor needs in the long term. But how is that possible in an industry that is severely affected by the current shortage of skilled workers?

The acquisition of employees from abroad represents enormous potential. Studies show that internal EU migration has been largely responsible for the positive German economic growth in recent years. In the long term, however, immigration from EU member states will not be enough to successfully counteract the increasing expansion of the skills shortage. Qualified specialists from third countries should also be given the opportunity to work in Germany.

In order to simplify immigration within the European Union even without a European passport, the “Law for Implementing the EU’s Highly Qualified Directive” was passed in Germany in August 2012. The law provides the issue of a so-called Bluecard for foreign specialists who have a university degree and already have a job offer in Germany. If the requirements are met, the applicant can start his work in Germany quickly and easily using the Bluecard.

Successfully integrate foreign specialists with HereLocation

There is great, so far untapped potential for companies to fill vacant positions with qualified specialists from third countries. In order for them to settle in quickly in Germany and soon feel at home, it is important to give the Expats the best possible support when starting their careers. HereLocation has taken on this important task. We support international transferees in all administrative activities, looking for accommodation and all other tasks involved in expatriation. In this way, we ensure optimal integration of foreign specialists who will feel so comfortable in their new home that they will be happy to stay with your company for a long time. Contact us if you are interested in our services. We would be happy to provide you with a free and guaranteed non-binding offer that is tailored to your individual needs.