Burgbacher: Our companies need a strategic approach to human resources
The GIB (Gesellschaft für Innovationsforschung und Beratung) has published the new skills monitor on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The main finding is that the skills shortage experienced by the companies in recent months has not eased. Almost one-third of companies are expecting to see rising demand for staff with vocational training qualifications over the next three years. Just under a quarter of firms expect to need more graduates from higher education. More than two-thirds of companies providing training places say that they had major problems recruiting trainees in the last twelve months.
Ernst Burgbacher, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Federal Government Commissioner for SMEs and Tourism, said: "We must use every possibility open to us to secure the skills needed in our economy. This confronts us with major challenges, and we need a twin-track strategy to master them. In addition to boosting the domestic pool of skilled labour, we need to encourage highly skilled people from abroad to come and make a career in Germany. Here, the new internet platform www.make-it-in-germany.com, which the Federal Economics Ministry launched in early June, can make an important contribution."
The skills monitor also shows that, despite the current skills shortage, not all companies have realised that, more than ever, securing the supply of skilled labour is now a central management issue. It remains the case that only a fraction of companies systematically analyse their future need for skilled labour or produce a skills development concept. For example, only a minority of companies implements or even considers medium-term or long-term measures for the strategic development of trainee recruitment (e.g. building up co-operation with schools).
State Secretary Burgbacher said: "The developments in terms of skills mean that companies need a strategic approach to human resources. Small and medium-sized firms in particular must intensify their activities in this field so that they are not at a competitive disadvantage compared with larger companies. In order to support our SMEs as they develop their HR strategies, the Federal Economics Ministry set up a Centre of Excellence to Secure Skills in May 2011, www.kompetenzzentrum-fachkraeftesicherung.de. Here, SMEs can obtain valuable information and recommendations for action on recruitment and on keeping e.g. women and older people involved in the company."
Even though studies by the IAB (Institute for Employment Research) have shown that Germany cannot cover its needs for skills only from the domestic labour pool, and that it therefore needs to try to attract professionals from other countries, only a minority of the companies surveyed intend to widen their search to other countries. So far, only one in ten companies has ever recruited foreign skilled labour, and only one in twenty has done so in the last five years.
The skills monitor is a snapshot of the skills situation in the German economy. It is obtained via a bi-annual survey of companies.