Avoiding shortages of skilled workers - securing qualified young talent

The competitiveness of the German economy depends crucially on a well-qualified workforce. This makes it all the more worrying that shortages of skilled workers are now not a cyclical problem but increasingly a structural one.

There are already shortages of skilled workers in numerous sectors and regions, especially in the nursing professions or in the so-called MINT sector (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology). The effects of the Corona pandemic are also being felt there. However, this does not apply to IT staff in particular: the gap remains large. Due to the increased digitization requirements, the current crisis is further intensifying the need for IT specialists here. Despite the crisis, there are still almost 1 million vacancies (IAB, 2020).
Demographic trend exacerbates shortage of skilled workers
The population in Germany, and thus also the number of potential workers, is shrinking and will age increasingly in the coming years. Even the comparatively high immigration figures prior to the crisis will not fundamentally change this trend. By 2040, the number of people aged 20 to 65 could decline by around 6 million to less than 44 million. The old-age dependency ratio, which describes the ratio of the number of people over 65 to the number of people aged 20 to 65, is expected to deteriorate dramatically - from one to three today to one to two in 2030. This means that there would then be only two people of working age for every person over 65 (Federal Statistical Office, 2019).
With an overall declining and aging workforce, the structural shortages of skilled workers that are already evident today will become even more acute. By 2025, there could be a shortage of almost 3 million skilled workers, most of them with vocational qualifications (Prognos, 2019). Demographic developments also have serious consequences for social security systems. This applies in particular to statutory pension insurance and long-term care insurance: the number of contributors is falling and, at the same time, the number of beneficiaries is increasing. This will increase the pressure to initiate structural reforms in the social insurance branches. These are indispensable, also to avoid a massive increase in non-wage labor costs, which would be detrimental to employment.
Making optimal use of domestic resources, facilitating skilled immigration
Securing an adequate supply of skilled workers is one of the key tasks for safeguarding Germany's prosperity. A coherent and balanced overall strategy is also necessary to secure skilled workers in the medium to long term, which must include the development of all domestic potential and the .
Sustainable training and continue to be the most important cornerstones here. Employers are aware of their responsibility and are involved in a wide range of qualification initiatives across the entire education spectrum. Companies in Germany already invest well over €50 billion a year in in-company training and development. However, failures in the education system, which are one of the main causes of shortages of skilled workers, cannot be compensated for by company commitment. It is therefore absolutely essential to implement sustainable reforms to improve the quality of the entire education system - starting with early childhood education and extending to general education schools and universities.
In addition, all domestic labor market potential must be tapped in the best possible way, especially from , and as well as from . In addition, by accelerating the balancing processes at - especially through better placement, activation and targeted support of the unemployed - we must succeed in significantly shortening job filling times and further reducing long-term unemployment. In addition, targeted and substantially increased immigration of qualified foreign specialists remains indispensable.
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