“This is no longer just a problem in specialist fields, but a general staffing problem,” Winter said. Unskilled labor also has openings, he added, “areas that are really essential for industry, which without them nothing happens.”
Despite some more recent factors, the general trend toward employment shortages was largely predictable.
“We find ourselves in a fairly dramatic situation that we saw coming a long time ago,” said Herbert Brücker, a professor at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg.
Germany loses around 350,000 working-age people every year as the Baby Boomer generation, those born in the years immediately following World War Two, retires, and not enough younger people are available to fill their positions.
Whereas Germany could once rely on workers from other countries in the European Union to compensate for domestic shortages, Brücker said that source is starting to dry up.
“Incomes in other EU countries are starting to pick up, and they are also seeing demographic changes,” he said. “Basically, the party is over.”
A law passed in 2020 was supposed to encourage the 400,000 foreign workers Germany needs every year to come and stay in Germany. In its first year, it only attracted 30,000, which Brücker called a “disappointment.”
Germany is desperate.
Companies are already hiring untrained workers and then helping them learn on the job, he said. He puts that figure at about 20%.
Gasp! JCs hate doing that! That’s old school.
Number of young people in Germany continues to fall
The proportion of youth and young adults in the German population is growing ever smaller. But Germany is no exception within Europe, and people between 15 and 24 are rather scarce in one country in particular.
Germany is, however, only slightly below average when compared with other European Union countries. According to the bloc’s statistical office, Eurostat, 15- to 24-year-olds made up 10.6% of the EU population overall at the start 2019, with Cyprus having the highest proportion at 12.6%, followed closely by Denmark and Ireland.
Perhaps the post title should have been the EU NEEDS Workers NOW!.