Shaping the structural transformation of the German economy wisely and sustainably

Digitalization and the course set against global warming are causing accelerated sectoral, qualification and regional structural change, which is accompanied by considerable changes for the economy, the labor market and the (further) education system. The economy and the world of work will change significantly in the coming years. Added to this is demographic change with the growing need to secure skilled workers. This will require a greater degree of flexibility and willingness to change on the part of companies and employees alike.

The German economy and labor market have already successfully undergone such structural changes several times in the past. However, none of this is a foregone conclusion. Only with competitive companies can we help shape change, sustain growth and thus maintain prosperity and the high level of employment we have achieved, even in the current structural change and, if possible, expand it further.

To this end, all players on the labor market must live up to their responsibilities: The main responsibility for shaping structural change lies with the companies and their employees themselves. Employers bear responsibility for their employees and ensure that the skilled labor base is maintained through their commitment to training and continuing education. As company partners, they work on practicable solutions at the company level, and as collective bargaining partners, they create the appropriate framework for structural change in the respective sectors through collective agreements. For employees, individual security on the labor market will primarily be fed by flexibility, willingness to change and further training, and thus a constantly updated employability.

The task of the state is to support companies and employees in shaping structural change. The best way to do this is by creating the right framework conditions for a sustainable and competitive economy. Where necessary, the state - and in certain cases also unemployment insurance, which is borne by employers and employees - should continue to actively support targeted further training through labor market policy instruments.

15. February 2023

Structural change

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