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80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

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80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA
13:53 CEST+02:00
More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires.

"The educational opportunities for young people in 2014 are vast," reported the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) on Thursday.

Nearly a third of the 13,000 companies surveyed said they could not fill their apprenticeships, an increase of seven percent over last year.

Companies are having an increasingly difficult time finding apprentices and reported tens of thousands of openings across the country. Hospitality and construction were the fields most affected by the deficit.

More than 60 percent of respondents reported that they couldn't find enough trainees in the last year.

Students increasingly choose academia over vocational training. Around 507,000 students will hit the books at universities across Germany - a third more than a decade ago. Competition for a spot at university is tighter every year.

The Centre for Higher Education (CHE) reported last year that by 2016 there would be 36,000 too few spots for students wishing to pursue a Masters degree.

Of the firms looking for apprentices, 71 percent cited a lack of suitable candidates. The DIHK also found that around half of those with available training opportunities say that German language skills and maths marks are important when considering a candidate.

For 2014, the numbers could be even grimmer for members of the DIHK, as there are 53,000 fewer pupils set to graduate from schools than in 2013. It has long been the hope that immigration would be the answer to Germany's population growth problem, though that has yet to come to fruition.

"The wave of foreign apprentices has yet to materialise," DIHK researcher Dr. Achim Dercks said in a release.

As a result of the shortfall, more firms are looking for new incentives to attract young people into their ranks. More than two-thirds of responding companies say that they prefer to take on new hires from their own training programmes rather than hire someone from outside the company ranks. A job is most likely to happen for apprentices in the banking and insurance industries. 

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