Transport: Study warns of a worsening staff shortage in public transport

Transport: Study warns of a worsening staff shortage in public transport

Because of the mobility transition, bus and tram drivers are urgently needed. The problem is: Many employees are close to retirement – and there are far too few younger people coming.

The shortage of skilled workers in transport professions is expected to worsen significantly in the next few years. Four out of ten bus and tram drivers in Germany are older than 55 and will be retiring in the next few years. This emerges from a recently published study by the Competence Center for Securing Skilled Workers (Kofa) of the employer-related Institute of German Economy (IW). “More than 54,500 bus and tram drivers will be leaving the job market in the foreseeable future. In no other professional field is the proportion of employees who are about to retire so large,” said study author Jurek Tiedemann.

Last year, the professional group of bus and tram drivers recorded the largest increase in the shortage of skilled workers. 3,594 positions could not be filled with suitably qualified candidates, which was 89 percent more than in the previous year. According to Tiedemann, this is due to an increased need for personnel as a result of the mobility transition. Across Germany there are currently around 137,314 employees subject to social security contributions who work as bus and tram drivers.

Increasing skills gap expected

Because many employees from baby boomers are leaving, experts expect an overall increasing skills gap in the coming years. According to the study, one in four employees in Germany will leave the labor market in the next ten years, including 4.5 million skilled workers who have completed vocational training.

“The problem is: Significantly fewer young employees are moving in than older ones are retiring,” said Tiedemann. Proportionally, the occupational areas most affected are transport, logistics, protection and security (29.1 percent of all employees), and in absolute numbers the areas of raw material extraction, production and manufacturing: more than 1.3 million qualified workers are retiring here.

The study authors recommend various measures to combat the shortage of skilled workers. Employers should address older people more specifically when advertising jobs. In addition, it makes sense to create incentives with age-appropriate work design in order to keep employees in employment for longer – be it through an ergonomic workplace, health management offers, flexible working hours and home office options. The proportion of employed people between 55 and 64 has recently increased. In 2023 it was 57 percent, in 2013 it was 43 percent.

Source: Stern

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