The study, called the “MINT Spring Report 2018” and carried out by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), has found that nationwide the country lacks a significant amount of STEM workers.
At the end of April this year, 314,800 vacant positions in STEM industries were unfilled. This establishes a “record high” since data collection began in 2011, the IW states.
The current figure is moreover one third higher than the figure in April 2017 and twice as high as in early 2015.
“IT specialists in particular are desperately needed to shape digital change in companies,” the study states.
Included in the study’s calculation are traineeships for technical professions and vacancies for academic occupations, technicians and engineers. The shortage is especially crucial for jobs in energy engineering, mechatronics and automation technology.
The issue can be addressed by making the IT industry more attractive and recruiting more specialists from abroad, according to the study.
After observing an increasing number of STEM students in Germany, as well as a decreasing number of trainees working in the technical fields, the IW researchers have called for vocational schools to be modernized in order to make training in technical sectors more attractive.
With regards to recruiting foreign professionals, IW expert Axel Plünnecke points out that the current situation has actually been alleviated by the recent arrival of many STEM specialists from countries outside of Germany.
Almost 16,400 employees across all four STEM areas came from Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria in the third quarter of 2017, according to the study. This was a notable increase from a year earlier, when 8,000 workers from those four countries in technical professions were calculated in Germany.
The IW study was conducted on behalf of the German Employers’ Federation (BDA), the German Employees Association (BDI) and the Gesamtmetall industry employers’ group.