Shaping the structural change of the German economy wisely and sustainably

Digitalisation 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 labour market and the (further) education system. The economy and the world of work will change significantly in the coming years. Added to this is the demographic change with the growing need to secure skilled labour. This requires a higher degree of flexibility and willingness to change from companies as well as from employees.

The German economy and labour 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, maintain growth and thus maintain prosperity and the high level of employment achieved even in the current structural change and, if possible, expand it further.

To this end, all players on the labour 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 labour base is maintained through their commitment to training and further education. As company partners, they work on practicable solutions at company level; 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 labour market will primarily be based on flexibility, willingness to change and to undergo further training, and thus on 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 labour market policy instruments.