Women and immigrants must fill labour shortage, study says

Women and immigrants must fill labour shortage, study says
Photo: DPA
Women and immigrants will have to fill the skilled worker shortage expected to hit Germany in the coming years, according to a new 10-point plan by the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

Improved educational programmes and better labour market policies for these groups could create several million new job candidates by the year 2025, according to the BA study cited by daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday.

“We can’t afford to ignore the dormant potential in our country,” BA spokesperson Raimund Becker wrote in the study.

As the population shrinks and ages, the number of potential workers is expected to drop by 6.5 million to 38 million, a situation expected to significantly slow economic development.

In the best-case scenario, some three million full-time workers could be gleaned from better integration of women into the work force, said the study, entitled Perspektive 2025: Fachkräfte für Deutschland, or “Perspective 2025: Qualified workers for Germany.”

Other goals include lowering school drop-out rates and increasing workweek time by two hours, the study said.

But these measures still won’t be enough to keep the country’s demographic decline at bay.

“Without immigration the problem can’t be solved,” Becker wrote in the paper.

But an immigration programme tailored to economic needs could bring in some 800,000 skilled workers, he explained.

Currently many potential foreign workers are choosing other countries above Germany, though. Of the 721,000 immigrants to arrive in the country in 2009, just 17,000 were counted as skilled labourers, the study said.

“Since the turn of the millennium, migration statistics have been moving against Germany,” Becker wrote.

However if the need for qualified employees isn’t solved in the long term, there will be drastic consequences for the country, he warned.

Meanwhile Angela Merkel’s centre-right government coalition continues to grapple with creating new immigration policies that include improved recognition of foreign educational credentials.

The Local/DAPD/ka

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