Figures collected by the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) found that in the first six months of this year, about 908,000 skilled workers were unemployed, according to the daily Saarbrücker Zeitung.
That amounted to 5.7 percent of all the roughly 16 million workers in this skilled category.
The figures come despite the German government’s concern about the looming skills shortage.
“In an attractive economy and generally falling unemployment, the risk of job losses even for qualified personnel must not be downplayed,” the DGB’s labour market expert, Wilhelm Adamy, told the paper.
According to the union’s research, between January and June, about 110,000 workers with university or technical college qualifications registered as unemployed.
That was 3.6 percent of all workers with such education levels.
Adamy said it was possible many workers were over-qualified for the job market and many firms did not have the right long-term planning for the professional development of their employees.
But the main business lobby group, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), said that in face of the Germany’s demographic decline, it was vital that the country started attracting skilled workers from abroad.
“You can say apprenticeships are short of candidates,” deputy DIHK head Volker Treier told broadcaster ARD on Monday morning.
Treier said despite a doubling of the number of school graduates in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, as well as the abolition of compulsory military service, the number of applicants for apprenticeships was dropping, even as the strong economy generated more opportunities.