Worker shortages costing German economy 86 billion euros per year, report says

Worker shortages costing German economy 86 billion euros per year, report says

The shortage of skilled workers in Germany is growing into a hefty burden for the economy. According to a new study, the skills shortage is costing the federal republic 86 billion euros each year. 

2 million vacant jobs in Germany, putting pressure on economy

In the last quarter alone, there were almost 2 million unfilled jobs in Germany. This troubling shortage of workers grows more severe each year, and with devastating consequences for the economy: according to new calculations by the management consultancy Boston Consulting, worker shortages in Germany are responsible for 86 billion euros of lost economic output each year. 

The study authors, Johann Harnoss and Janina Kugel, based their calculations on figures from the Nuremberg Institute for Labour Market and Occupational Research, which in the second quarter of 2022 reported 1,9 million job vacancies. “That’s about a million over the long-term average,” SPIEGEL quotes Harnoss as saying. “Both economists and we see that as a structural deficiency.” 

86 billion euros in lost output each year

They multiplied these 1 million vacancies by the assumed yearly economic output of each person - around 84.000 dollars - to arrive at the total of 84 billion dollars, or 86 billion euros. Compared to other developed nations around the world, Germany came second only to the US in terms of economic losses caused by worker shortages. 

Even assuming that between 300.000 to 400.000 workers immigrate to Germany each year, Harnoss and Kugel estimated that the number of working-age people in the federal republic would fall by 3 million by 2035 and by 9 million by 2050. “The cost of 84 billion dollars will only get bigger if we don’t take action,” Kugel told SPIEGEL

Germany should target recruitment to specific countries

To counteract this, the study authors have suggested that Germany specifically targets recruitment for new workers to countries whose populations are still growing. “One possibility would be to train the people there in their home countries before they come to Germany. That would have advantages for the immigrants, for the countries of origin, and for the destination countries,” Harnoss said, citing India, Nigeria, Indonesia and Egypt as possible target countries.

Kugel added that Germany needed to have a more non-ideological, factual discussion about immigration, warning that growing worker shortages are even putting the affordability of the country’s pension system, healthcare system and health insurance system in peril.



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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WolffWolff2 09:38 | 18 October 2022

Unfortunately being a German citizen and having grown up in s English country I've experienced nothing but uphill struggles. ( Language, Zeugnisse, overflow of dodgy Zeitarbeit companies, hostility towards anyone not born in Germany ( 70% of the time)) . While I'll finish my engineering studies in a year, the Netherlands is more welcoming.

MubeenSeptember2 11:28 | 18 October 2022

Fluency in German is a pretty unreasonable request for a country who's reliance on others cost that much. Its easier to accept non German speakers and train them (a few months) than to find German speakers and train them in an industry (5 to 6 years)... It's not difficult to realise this. Especially with the technology available today!