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Skilled labor shortage: Economic weakness can hardly alleviate skilled labor problem

Skilled labor shortage: Economic weakness can hardly alleviate skilled labor problem
Skilled labor shortage: Economic weakness can hardly alleviate skilled labor problem

The economy continues to weaken – but there is still a shortage of skilled workers. One in three companies could work better if they had the right people. KfW explains what could help.

The ongoing weakness of the German economy can hardly alleviate the problem of the shortage of skilled workers any further. More than one in three companies see their business activities hampered by the lack of suitable staff, according to the new “skilled worker barometer” compiled by the state development bank KfW together with the Ifo Institute. At 35 percent, the rate in summer 2024 is only one percentage point lower than in January of this year. However, two years ago it was still 55 percent.

The problem is significantly greater in the service sector than in most other industries – according to the survey, the number of people affected is above average at 42 percent. There is an acute shortage in the offices of lawyers, tax consultants and auditors in particular – 71 percent said they were negatively affected.

Survey of 9000 companies

For the “Skilled Worker Barometer”, 9,000 companies in Germany are surveyed once a quarter, including around 7,500 medium-sized companies.

In industry, only 25 percent of companies feel affected. That is much less than in the service sector, but still three times the long-term average. In retail, the rate was 28 percent in the summer, and in construction, 27 percent. On average, smaller companies are slightly less affected than large companies, and the west less so than the east.

“With the expected economic recovery, the shortage of skilled workers will also increase again,” says KfW chief economist Fritzi Köhler-Geib. “The extent to which this will happen depends on how successfully countermeasures are taken, for example with incentives for higher participation of women and older people in the workforce, with the recruitment and integration of qualified immigrants, needs-based qualification and retraining of employees, and measures to increase individual and macroeconomic labor productivity, for example through greater digitalization,” she stresses.

Source: Stern

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