Greater use can particularly be made of the potential of women, older people, people with an immigrant background, young people without vocational qualifications, and people with disabilities. Diversity is an important element of corporate success. In occupations facing a skills shortage, it is also important to approach qualified professionals from around the world.
The greatest pool of talent with which to meet the skills shortage is offered by women. With a labour force participation rate of more than 72%, Germany is well-positioned. But many women work part-time. The ratio of women in full-time work is higher in almost all the other EU countries. Many women in part-time jobs would like to increase the hours they work. And almost 42% of women aged between 25 and 49 who do not participate in the labour market said that this was because they were looking after children and other relatives.
Of the nearly five million women of working age who are currently not working or looking for a job, the majority are well trained and educated. So it is in the business community’s own interest to make better use of the work and skills offered by women. Here, it is important to have better possibilities to combine family and career.
Young people and old – all generations will be needed for Germany’s future. Older employees in particular can draw on comprehensive expertise and many years of professional experience. On behalf of the Labour Ministry, ZEW in Mannheim has calculated a skills potential of between 0.6 and 1.1 million people aged between 55 and 64 up to 2025, compared with a scenario for 2025 with a labour participation rate and average working hours at the level of 2013. In recent years, the labour participation rate of people aged between 55 and 64 has risen sharply.
Every company can take targeted measures to benefit from the potential of older people. Age-appropriate design of work, an improved balance between work and private life, more further training for older people, targeted recruitment of older people and proactive health management – all of these are investments which pay off equally for companies, for employees and for Germany as a whole.
People with a migrant background
People with a migrant background also offer a lot of potential. Many thousands of additional workers could come on to the market if people with a migrant background were given more support in terms of integration and training. One aspect of this is the integration of refugees into the labour market. Another is increased immigration of highly qualified professionals from other countries, particularly in occupations facing a skills shortage.
The rules on the immigration of people with vocational qualifications are therefore being relaxed. The orientation of the “positive list” of occupations where there is a skills shortage to regional labour market needs means that qualified professionals from abroad can now work in more than 130 occupations.
Inclusion: recruiting people with disabilities
According to figures from the Federal Employment Agency, some 177,000 severely disabled people would like to work. Many people with a disability have above-average skills, and their ability to work is hardly affected at all by their disability. You can find out more about inclusion on the website of the Centre of Excellence on securing skilled labour (German Version).
Top Germans working abroad
According to estimates, at least 200,000 highly qualified German nationals are currently working in the U.S., Switzerland and other EU countries. It is good to see that German skilled workers enjoy such a great reputation abroad. At the same time, we can do more to try and benefit from this wealth of experience, and encourage these people to make a career in Germany. We need to do more to build a bridge for people returning to Germany. Here, it would be helpful to have greater transparency about services and opportunities for those interested in returning to Germany, and also to give them more support with their return and reintegration.