The acute shortage of skilled workers, which is already affecting areas such as nursing or crafts, will continue to worsen over the next 15 years. The economy is concerned about the retirement of the baby boomers from the fifties and sixties – who are among the so-called baby boomers. The Federal Statistical Office has now presented new figures on this. In the next 15 years, 12.9 million workers will be over retirement age. That is around 30 percent of the people currently available on the labor market, based on the year 2021.
While some of the 60 to 64 year olds are in a transitional phase towards retirement, most of the current 50 to 59 year olds are still employed (86 percent). The latter group comprises 11.3 million workers. The problem for the future: The younger age cohorts cannot replace the older ones numerically.
Shortage of skilled workers is already acute
The situation on the labor market is already affected by an acute shortage. Just two days ago, the ifo Institute reported a new high in the shortage of skilled workers. In almost every second company in Germany there is a shortage of workers. More and more companies are having to cut back on their business because they can't find enough staff, it said. And further: In the medium and long term, the problem is likely to become even more serious.
In a study on employment from this year, the competence center for securing skilled workers (KOFA) writes that currently almost every fourth employee in Germany (22.8 percent) is over 55 years old. The search for suitable personnel will therefore intensify, especially in professional areas with a high average age.
replacement demand increases
At KOFA, these include the professional fields of architecture, construction and surveying. The proportion of employees over the age of 55 in these areas is just over a quarter. In the areas of transport, logistics, protection and security, too, a high demand for replacements can be expected in the next few years. The proportion of employees over the age of 55 who are likely to retire in the next ten years is referred to as replacement demand.
But there could also be a high demand for personnel in occupations that currently have more unemployed people than vacancies. According to KOFA, this includes, for example, specialists in physiotherapy.
Greater participation of women in the labor market
The Federal Statistical Office cites the greater participation of women in the labor market as a possible solution. Across all age groups, this is still lower than that of men. For the population between the ages of 30 and 39, the employment rate for women was around eleven percentage points lower than that for men last year. Among the 40 to under 65 year olds it was about eight percentage points less on average. "Greater labor market participation by women could thus contribute to the activation of an overall larger labor force potential," it said.
The federal government is also relying on more immigration when there is a shortage of skilled workers and is planning a reform of the Skilled Immigration Act (FEG). The aim is to facilitate the influx of skilled workers from abroad. According to estimates by the Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research of the Federal Employment Agency (IAB), around 400,000 workers need to move to Germany every year to fill the gaps in the labor market due to the aging population.
Increase retirement age?
Recently, however, the debate about a higher retirement age has flared up again. The president of the employers' association Gesamtmetall, Stefan Wolf, said in an interview with the Funke media group at the beginning of the week that the retirement age of 70 years had to be gradually increased – also because the age continues to rise.
If you look at the demographic development and the burden on the social and pension funds, then the reserves have been used up. "We will have to work longer and harder," said Wolf. However, representatives of the traffic light coalition rejected the proposal. The traffic light parties had already ruled out a further increase in the retirement age in the coalition agreement.