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Germany sees 'over 550 percent increase' in Indian IT workers over decade

The Local Germany
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Germany sees 'over 550 percent increase' in Indian IT workers over decade
Employed people can still benefit from job-related legal insurance if they get into dispute with their employers. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

The number of foreign employees in STEM professions has significantly gone up in Germany since 2012, with Indians representing the largest increase, according to a new study from the Cologne-based German Business Institute (IW).

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Between the first quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2022, the number of German passport holders employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields increased by 35.6 percent.

But for employees without a German passport, the increase shot up to 171.7 percent. 

"In the STEM professions, the immigration of highly qualified people, also from non-EU countries, works particularly well, since scientific laws or programming languages apply worldwide and skills acquired abroad can be used very well in Germany," wrote study author Christina Anger.

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The percentage of foreign employees in these fields from India rose most sharply (up 558 percent), followed by workers from Turkey (up 196 percent), Italy (up 125 percent) and China (up 122 percent).

READ ALSO: Indians in Germany: Who are they and where do they live?

In the second quarter of 2022, Russians were among the top five nationalities for the first time, up 196 percent since the end of 2012.

A decade ago, there were about 3,700 Indians working in academic STEM professions in Germany, whereas today there are 25,000, many of which have come to the country through the EU's Blue Card visa scheme.

These increases can have a long-term impact, said Anger: "Because immigration creates networks into the countries of origin."

For example, if a company is short of skilled workers, it could be possible to recruit applicants from the employee's circle of acquaintances in India.

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Overall, the employment of non-EU foreigners in these jobs increased by 267.7 percent, to about 111,400, during the period studied. 

The number of foreigners from EU countries, on the other hand, went up by 86.1 percent to 72,600 workers.

Foreigners make major contribution 

In recent years, this type of migration has already made a major contribution to innovative strength and prosperity, the survey stated. 

For example, the share of people with foreign roots in patent applications in Germany has increased from 6.4 percent in 2010 to 10.9 percent in 2019, according to the IW.

The data comes at a time when Germany faces a shortage of skilled workers, largely in IT branches.

READ ALSO: Germany looks to foreign workers to ease ‘dramatic’ skilled worker shortage

"Digitisation, decarbonisation and demographic change will lead to a strong increase in demand in the coming years," wrote the IW. 

According to the industry association Bitkom, there is already a shortage of 137,000 employees in IT. President Achim Berg warned of a "dramatic worsening". 

"Demographic change means that significantly fewer young people with IT qualifications are entering the job market, and at the same time more older people are leaving relevant professions."

Anger spoke of an "increasing demand for STEM workers with declining numbers of (university) graduates". 

While 198,000 first-year students began STEM studies in 2016, the figure fell to 172,000 in 2021.

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