Study sees no skilled worker shortage
German businesses often warn a shortage of qualified skilled workers could lead the country to economic ruin, but a new study released on Tuesday suggests this premise might be wrong.
The study by the German Institute of Economic Research (DIW) takes on complaints by employers that some 60,000 mathematicians, IT experts, technicians and scientists are needed to keep the economy on track, news magazine Der Spiegel reported.
This claim is stunning, DIW expert Karl Brenke wrote in the report, because in 2009 German industry was hit “particularly hard” by the global financial crisis and job cuts have only now come to a halt.
Last August the number of workers in German industry was still lower by some 300,000 than pre-crisis numbers, he said.
The previous surveys of employers that appeared to determine the worker shortage had only minimal significance and reflected their short-term problems, Brenke said.
A look at wage developments supports the DIW’s claim, the magazine said.
“At capital goods producers leading employees had to take real wage losses,” Brenke wrote in the study, explaining that if there had truly been a shortage of workers, there would have been an above average wage increase instead.
Brenke also called on labour market statistics to dispute the worker shortage, saying that in March fewer people were working in manufacturing as the same month last year. And while the recovering economy means fewer unemployed, there are still more people looking for work in different sectors than there are jobs, he wrote.
Future prospects also look bright, Brenke said, citing a high number of engineering students.
The only shortage of skilled workers in Germany is among doctors, according to the magazine.