Germany facing "desperate" shortage of skilled foreign workers

Germany facing "desperate" shortage of skilled foreign workers

Germany is facing a huge shortage of skilled workers from abroad, a top government official has warned. Companies in Germany are already short of around 270.000 qualified workers, and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. 

Germany’s skilled worker shortage

The federal government’s Integration Commissioner, Annette Widmann-Mauz, has warned that Germany is facing a critical shortage of skilled workers, after migration to the federal republic dropped off significantly last year. “Our economy is desperately looking for skilled workers,” the CDU politician told the RND

She said that there were already around 270.000 vacant jobs for skilled workers in Germany - a shortage that has only been exacerbated by reduced migration numbers during the coronavirus pandemic. “The number of additional skilled workers and workers from the EU in Germany fell by around 25 percent last year,” she said. 

Earlier this week, the Federal Statistical Office revealed that the German population stagnated last year, after a fall in net migration and an increase in the birth deficit put an end to 10 years of sustained growth. According to a recent report by the bank KfW, 23,7 percent of German businesses reported qualified staff shortages in April 2021. 

German economy reliant on foreign workers

A number of industries in Germany, including healthcare, construction and food, have come to rely on workers from Europe and further afield, as the country’s rapidly-ageing population increasingly fails to meet the workforce requirements of the economy. 

The government has been working hard to close the gap in recent years. In March 2020, the Skilled Immigration Act came into force, a new law designed to lower the barriers for foreigners wishing to enter the German labour market. In a nutshell, the law revised the definition of “skilled worker” to include both academic and vocational qualifications. 

The new law successfully narrowed the skills gap in the second quarter of 2020, but it has since widened once again. 



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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