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Where are the vacant jobs in Germany and which industries are most in demand?

Shelley Pascual
Shelley Pascual - [email protected]
Where are the vacant jobs in Germany and which industries are most in demand?
Employees in Heidelberg working with 3D printers. Photo: BASF SE/obs/DPA

More than 1.2 million vacant employment positions across Germany were recorded at the end of 2017, according to a new report. But where are the majority of these openings located and what are the sectors most in need of workers?


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A full 1,183,000 unfilled jobs were recorded nationwide at the end of last year, according to a report by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) published in March. It's a great time to be a job seeker in Germany, as this is the highest number the country has seen since 1990.

Figures from the Federal Employment Agency (BA) show a similar development in the German labour market. Whereas an average of 655,490 vacant positions were registered by regional offices and job centres in 2016, this figure swelled to 730,551 in 2017 - an increase of 11.5 percent.

Where the job openings are

Based on data collected by the BA and shared with The Local, these are the top ten (out of 400) German cities and regions in terms of average annual job vacancies that were registered in 2017:

1. Berlin (25,793)
2. Hamburg (16,614)
3. Frankfurt (9,930)
4. Cologne (9,793)
5. Munich (9,712)
6. Hanover region (9,384)
7. Stuttgart (7,618)
8. Esslingen region (7,115)
9. Dortmund (7,030)
10. Nuremberg (6,806)

The majority of these cities and regions had a similar figure in 2016 with either slight increases or decreases. But both the Esslingen region in Baden-Württemberg and the city of Cologne saw significant growth compared to the previous year.

Registered job vacancies in the Esslingen district, which is home to over half a million residents, have grown by 19 percent. Meanwhile in Cologne, the largest city in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) with a population of over one million inhabitants, there was a 9 percent increase in the number of registered job openings in 2017.

Photo: DPA

Important to note as well is that, excluding Nuremberg and the districts of Esslingen and Hanover, the remaining seven cities in BA’s top ten list are also among the biggest cities in Germany.

While the largest number of jobs is available in Berlin, Germany's capital and largest city with over 3.5 million inhabitants, it also showed a 2.8 percent decrease in registered job vacancies compared to the previous year.

Following Nuremberg, in eleventh place comes the only city in the east of the country that made it in BA’s top twenty cities and regions with the highest average annual job vacancies nationwide: Leipzig. The biggest city in Saxony saw a substantial year-on-year increase in job vacancies (18.5 percent).

The remaining cities and regions in the top twenty are dominated by those in NRW, the state which is not only home to the largest urban area in Germany, but also the most foreigners (2.5 million). These areas include Düsseldorf (12th place), the Aachen region (14th place) and the Märkischer district (15th place).

Of the 1.2 million nationwide openings recorded by the IAB, around 918,000 positions are available in former West Germany and around 265,000 are in the east.

Much further down the BA’s list are eastern cities such as Dresden (43rd place), Magdeburg (56th place) and Erfurt (74th). Though the capital of Thuringia, Erfurt, last year showed a considerable increase of 23 percent in registered vacancies.

The The number of published job postings in each of Germany's 16 federal states in 2017. Image: The Adecco Group

The federal state that published the most print and online employment vacancies in 2017 with 791,260 postings is Bavaria, according to an index released by staffing firm The Adecco Group in January. Runner-up to Bavaria was Baden-Württemberg with 625,900 jobs postings, as the bar graph above shows.

The state that showed the greatest year-on-year growth is Thuringia. With more than 40,000 vacancies last year, this was an increase for the former eastern  German state of 19 percent compared to 2016.

The industries that are most in demand

Now that you have an idea of the cities and states where job vacancies exist, here are the industries which are most in need of employees.

The highest number of vacant jobs is in business-related sectors such as administration, marketing and sales, the IAB states. Meanwhile the strongest growth in vacancies is in the manufacturing and construction sectors. At the end of 2017, there were about 161,000 vacancies in manufacturing and some 98,000 openings in construction.

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According to The Adecco Group, the industries which are most in need of employees are engineering, IT and telecommunications. Vacancies in the technology sector have moreover grown by 24 percent.

As the graph below shows, excluding the miscellaneous category, the roles that were most in demand last year were in the technical field (13.7 percent) and in IT/telecommunications (9.6 percent).

The German sectors in need of employees based on print and online job vacancies published in 2017. Image: The Adecco Group

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

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.


Apprentices at a construction site in Esslingen. Photo: DPA

But it’s not only employment opportunities in engineering that exist in Deutschland. Employees are also needed in the transportation, logistics and retail sectors. In addition, there’s nationwide demand for more employees to work in warehouses and for traffic infrastructure.

As the pie graph above shows, 9.1 percent of job postings in 2017 were in distribution and sales and 8.2 percent were in organizational and project management roles. These were followed by construction and skilled crafts and trade jobs (7.9 percent), jobs dealing with the law, taxes and finance (7.6 percent) and employment in the hospitality and tourism industry (7.4 percent).

Additionally, around six percent of vacancies are in three respective areas: health, medicine and social affairs, secretarial, administration and office management as well as business leadership and management.

The biggest portion of job openings in Germany is not in the primary or secondary sector, but rather, in the tertiary sector, the BA states. Tertiary sector jobs are in services rather than manufacturing (secondary) or mining, agriculture, fishing (primary).

In February 2018, the BA registered some 640,000 job vacancies in the tertiary sector, over half of which were positions in the economic services area (336,000). Around 11,600 vacancies were recorded for positions in education and teaching - which reflects the findings of a recent study.

The current nationwide shortage of some 2,000 positions for school teachers across Germany will increase dramatically over the next seven years, according to a Bertelsmann Foundation study published in January. The foundation calculates that by 2025, a total of 35,000 school teacher positions will need to be filled.

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