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Over a dozen engineers urgently needed for bike network in Berlin

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Over a dozen engineers urgently needed for bike network in Berlin
A cyclist in Berlin. Photo: DPA.
12:34 CET+01:00
24 positions were created for the capital city's ambitious bike traffic plan. But the search for engineers has proven difficult and less than half of the positions have been filled thus far.

Since 2000, Berlin has made funding available specifically to improve the infrastructure for cyclists. Current cycling facilities in the city are to be expanded even further, according to the Berlin Senate.

But development on the expansive network has been on the back burner.

Each district requires a pair of engineers in order to put these plans into action, meaning that a total of 24 positions had initially been up for grabs. To date though, only 8.5 positions have been filled, according to Tagesspiegel.

Engineers have been hired for several districts: Neukölln, Treptow-Köpenick and Steglitz-Zehlendorf. In Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, one vacancy has been filled and in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, one and a half jobs have been filled.

Meanwhile a number of districts, including Pankow, Reinickendorf, Mitte, Lichtenberg, Spandau and Marzahn-Hellersdorf, have not yet hired anyone for the project.

“The shortage of skilled workers means that it is not easy to find qualified personnel," Matthias Tang, spokesperson for traffic senator Regine Günther, told Berliner Zeitung (BZ). Qualified civil engineers are rare, he added.

Particularly in the area of electrical engineering and IT, up to nine years from now Germany may face a shortage of 100,000 engineers, according to a recent study commissioned by the Association of Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers (VDE).

Another study published in August, conducted by research institute Prognos AG, similarly found that in addition to other professions in Germany, such as those in the trades and in medicine, a significant number of workers in the engineering industry may be lacking by 2030.

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Another reason why there has been a lack of applicants is that the jobs are unattractive in terms of pay. The starting gross monthly salary for the positions, according to BZ, is €3,081.

There is another factor, according to Bernd Zanke, a member of the German Cyclist's Association. 

"The job profile is demanding," Zanke told BZ, noting that career changers should be allowed to apply for the jobs in addition to civil engineers.

Applications from people who have studied in programmes other than engineering are being accepted, reports Tagesspiegel.

Green party MP Stefan Gelbhaar has suggested the Senate do more to help the districts in the search for candidates, suggesting that the jobs be posted throughout Europe as well.

More vacancies will also need to be filled next year. 

Throughout the course of 2018, InfaVelo GmbH - the company currently managing the construction of cycle traffic facilities in Berlin - plan on taking 27 new staff members on board.

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