Survey reveals extent of Germany’s labour shortage

Survey reveals extent of Germany’s labour shortage

The lack of skilled workers in Germany has continued to get worse over the past year, according to a recent survey. Germany’s healthcare and care sectors have been particularly affected by the shortage.

Shortage of skilled workers in Germany

Companies and businesses in Germany are finding it harder and harder to recruit skilled labourers. This is the result of a survey undertaken by research start-up Civey for the Bertelsmann Foundation, which interviewed around 7.500 company decision-makers between August and October. The survey found that around 66 percent of companies, from smaller, local businesses to big international companies, are struggling to find skilled workers. Conversely, only 29 percent of companies said they were not currently affected by the shortage.

The survey also highlighted a significant shortage in the care and healthcare sectors, substantiating the claim by the President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, that Germany's healthcare system faces a personnel collapse. The retail industry is also suffering significant staff shortages, with over half of company decision-makers complaining about a lack of workers.

The shortage has also affected jobs in the social sector, the education sector, and handicraft and technical professions. It is seen as a nationwide problem, with the federal states of Bavaria, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia all significantly affected. Berlin, Bremen and Saarland were also affected, albeit not as much. "The shortage of skilled workers is becoming more and more a structural problem," concluded Alexander Burstedde from the Institute for the German Economy.

Experts expect labour shortage to get worse

The results from this year’s survey paint a bleak picture. Last year, only 55 percent of decision-makers stated they were struggling to find skilled workers, and 38 percent said they were not affected by the shortage. This shows that the current skilled labour shortage is only getting worse year on year.

What’s more, experts and company decision-makers alike predict the shortage will continue to get worse in the future. In fact, 67 percent of company decision-makers expect to face a shortage of skilled workers in 2022, whilst the Bertelsmann Foundation stated that “demographic change is causing the local skilled labour potential to shrink drastically in the coming years."

In order to tackle the shortage, businesses have called for the targeted immigration of skilled workers. The head of the Federal Employment Agency, Detlef Scheele, previously said that Germany will need an influx of around 400.000 skilled migrants every year to compensate for the shortage of skilled workers in the country. The Bertelsmann Foundation’s migration expert, Matthias Mayer, has called for Germany’s labour force to be mobilised as best as possible by making certain professions more attractive. This could be by increasing salaries or improving work-life balance.

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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