A lack of skilled workers is causing increasing concern in the German economy. In July, 49.7 percent of the companies surveyed were affected, said the Munich-based ifo Institute. That's the highest since the economists' quarterly survey began in 2009.
The previous record from April of 43.6 percent was thus clearly exceeded. "More and more companies are having to scale back their business because they simply can't find enough staff," said ifo labor market expert Stefan Sauer. "In the medium and long term, this problem is likely to become even more serious."
Service providers most affected
The problem has increased sharply since the survey began: At the beginning, the values were still around ten percent, by 2019 they had climbed to around 30 percent. The Corona crisis had caused an interim slump, but since the beginning of 2021 the values have been rising again significantly.
The service industry is hardest hit with 54.2 percent, followed by manufacturing with 44.5 percent. According to their own statements, 41.9 percent of the companies in retail have problems, in construction 39.3 percent and in wholesale 36.3 percent. Among the service providers, temporary work is hit hardest at 77.9 percent, as well as legal and tax advice and auditing at 71 percent. The pharmaceutical and chemical industries report the lowest skills shortages with 17.2 and 24.1 percent respectively. The automotive industry is also below average at 30.5 percent, as is mechanical engineering at 43 percent.
Many thousands of training positions are unfilled
Most recently, the President of the Craft Industry, Hans Peter Wollseifer, complained about the shortage of skilled workers. According to this, the trades in Germany alone lack at least a quarter of a million qualified employees. Between 15,000 and 20,000 training positions remain unfilled every year.
The federal government is therefore pushing ahead with plans to reform immigration law. "We want foreign skilled workers to find their way to Germany more easily and quickly," explained Interior Minister Nancy Faeser and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (both SPD). Cornerstones for a reform of immigration law could be presented in autumn.