Labour shortage: Thousands of apprenticeships left vacant in Germany

Labour shortage: Thousands of apprenticeships left vacant in Germany

Germany has long struggled with labour shortages, with recent data showing that tens of thousands of apprenticeships remained vacant during 2021. To try and counteract the problem, politicians have looked to make training and education a central focus moving forward.

Germany struggling with labour shortage

A new study from the Institute for German Economy (IW) has revealed that, in 2021, around 63.000 traineeships in Germany remained unfilled - about 12 percent of all available vacancies. However, researchers suggest that the real figure could be a lot higher, as the study only took traineeships that were registered with German employment agencies into account. “If those vacancies that are not reported to the employment agencies for a variety of reasons are also taken into account, this proportion is significantly higher at just under 40 percent,” the IW explained.

The researchers suggest that young people are uninterested in certain jobs, and companies are struggling to find workers to train. The highest proportion of vacant apprenticeships was in meat product sales, where 60,4 percent of positions were vacant. Apprenticeships in the plumbing (38,9 percent), catering (37,5 percent) and concrete builder (33,8 percent) trades also struggled to attract young, skilled workers.

Researchers have recommended that companies offer more support to trainees, in terms of transport and housing, to attract people to the vacant job offers. “In future, it will be important to tap the remaining potential of young people in order to combat the shortage of skilled workers,” IW said.

Labour minister targets education

The issue of labour shortages is a major challenge for the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil. “The lack of skilled workers must not become a permanent brake on growth in Germany,” Heil told reporters, adding that training and education were the main focus of his time at the head of the ministry.

Heil stated that there was a significant shortage of truck drivers and care workers. “We are already seeing in individual regions and sectors that there is a shortage of workers and often of skilled workers,” he said. Heil plans to improve opportunities for higher education in Germany to counteract the problem. “My goal is for Germany to become a republic of further education,” he said.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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