One in two employers in Germany short of skilled workers, survey finds

One in two employers in Germany short of skilled workers, survey finds

Far from easing, Germany’s skilled worker shortage appears to be worsening. According to a new survey by the Ifo Institute, based in Munich, a record 49,7 percent of companies are currently short of workers

German companies struggle with skilled worker shortages

“More and more companies are having to scale back their business because they simply can’t find enough staff,” Ifo Labour Market Expert Stefan Sauer told Zeit. “In the medium and long term, this problem is likely to become even more serious.”

In its July survey, the Ifo Institute found that 49,7 percent of companies in Germany said they were short of skilled workers. This exceeds the previous record of 43,6 percent set in April 2022.

The survey has been conducted by the institute every quarter since 2009 and has seen figures increase sharply, almost without pause, ever since - from just 10 percent of employers in 2009 to around 30 percent in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic saw numbers fall again, but they have been rising sharply since the beginning of last year. 

Certain industries worse-affected by lack of staff

The Ifo figures show that certain industries are worse-affected than others. With 54,2 percent of companies reporting skilled worker shortages, service providers are suffering the most. Among service providers, an above-average number of hotels and other accommodation providers are reporting worker shortages - at 64 percent.

The manufacturing sector is also badly affected by shortages, with 44,5 percent of survey participants saying they are suffering from a lack of skilled workers. 41,9 percent of retailers, 39,3 percent of construction companies, and 36,3 percent of wholesale companies also reported shortages. 

German government looks to reform immigration policies

Industry representatives and economists have long been sounding the alarm about Germany’s dire need for skilled labourers, warning that the shortage risks holding back the economy. A recent study by the KfW found that the proportion of companies that see themselves held back by worker shortages has doubled within the space of a year.

The German government is looking increasingly serious about tackling the country’s crippling shortage of workers, with the traffic light coalition pushing ahead with plans to reform Germany’s immigration policies, to give foreign workers easier and quicker access to the German labour market. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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