The occupations particularly affected by skills shortages include:
- Professions requiring a degree: medical practitioners, mechanical and automotive engineers, electrical engineers, supply and waste-management engineers, IT experts/software developers/programmers, STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
- Crafts professions/skilled workers: electricians/electrical installers, milling-machine operators, plumbers, lathe-operators, toolmakers, plastics process workers, pipe fitters, welders, mechanical technicians.
- Nurses and geriatric nurses.
A recent study (02/2017) entitled ‘ and conducted by the Centre of Excellence on Skilled Labour (KOFA) has shown that it is now commonplace for companies in many regions to have difficulty recruiting the staff they need. Between 2011 and 2016, the share of jobs advertised for professionals whose skills-set is short in supply rose from 4 in 10 to 1 in 2. In many regions, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that many companies’ workforces are of an advanced age and that there are not enough young people with the desired qualifications. In fact, the number of vacant places for vocational training is also on the rise, both in the south of Germany, the country’s economic powerhouse, and in the east, which is hit hardest by demographic change.
In some regions, demographic change is already having a visible impact on the labour market. The shortage of skilled labour is felt the most in Germany’s south, the country’s economic powerhouse. A recent study conducted by the Centre of Excellence on Skilled Labour (KOFA) found that two thirds of all jobs advertised in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are professionals whose skills-set is in short supply. And the situation is not improving. Over the past five years, the east of Germany has also been hit hard by a skills gap.
This finding was also corroborated by the According to this study, 36 per cent of the skilled jobs advertised in the first semester of 2016 were still vacant at the date of survey. This means that the share of jobs companies were unable to recruit for was once again higher in eastern Germany than in western Germany (2016: 30 per cent). In addition to this, approx. one third of vocational training places also remained vacant as there were no suitable applicants.
At the same time, however, it is also important to note that – even within the same German state (land) – shortages are limited to certain districts. The Centre of Excellence on Skilled Labour (KOFA) has created an showing the regions in Germany where companies are having the most difficulty recruiting suitable candidates, as a share of all the vacant posts available in the region.
Labour market scenarios developed based on model calculations have shown that the number of gainfully active persons in east Germany is likely to drop by up to 13 per cent by 2020. In the long term, however, the consequences of demographic change will make itself felt across all sixteen states (länder). Unless measures are taken to counter this development, the German labour market in 2025 will have shrunk by up to six million gainfully active persons compared to 2010. For more details, consult the and the .