“We need a higher employment rate for women, older people and immigrants,” Hans Heinrich Driftmann, head of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), told the Berliner Zeitung.
A DIHK survey showed that a third of companies are concerned that their growth prospects for the coming year could be endangered by a lack of qualified workers – a situation exacerbated by increasing growth rates. Twice as many firms expressed such concerns this year than at the start of 2010.
Temporary workers, health sector professionals, IT and industry-related services and construction workers are among the most needed, the survey showed.
Driftmann said planned changes in the law to better recognise foreign qualifications could help the situation, but added that immigration must be better directed.
“The government has been far too hesitant with regard to the necessary easements,” he said, noting that promises to drop certain employment checks for people wanting to fill certain in-need jobs have not been fulfilled.
He also said that the minimum income for professionals to gain residence permits should be reduced from €66,000 to €40,000.
Economic analysts have predicted that unemployment will sink below the three million mark this year, while the number of jobs on offer rose to more than a million in the first quarter of the year for the first time since 2007.