Germany is running out of manual workers. And as we know, we like to work manually here (still). This is how one could smugly introduce this article.
In fact, the shortage of skilled workers has long since turned into a shortage of labor. There is a shortage of people in restaurants, hotels, construction and at the airport to do the work that needs to be done. There are several reasons for this. Among other things, many quit their jobs during the sluggish Corona period, gained further qualifications and sought new, better working conditions. Demographic change is yet to come as the boomer generation retires from the workforce.
Solutions are desperately sought. We are all familiar with these discussions on how to address the shrinking labor force potential in Germany:
- Start of pension at 70
- Further integration of women
- 42-hour workweek
The Institute for Employment Research (IAB), a research institute affiliated with the Federal Employment Agency, also,
considers net immigration of around 100,000 people a year to be realistic in the long term – especially because far fewer people now come from EU countries such as Poland and Spain, and immigration from third countries has so far fallen far short of compensating for the decline. This is also due to the fact that visa procedures and the recognition of foreign professional qualifications are lengthy and bureaucratic, as companies and academics repeatedly complain.
Rather, many researchers:in argue for a radically simplified immigration system “dispensing with the recognition of foreign degrees as a prerequisite.”
Educational systems are different and:
Certificates would have to be recognized if people had completed two or three years of vocational training or studied for three years at bachelor’s level – even if the training was not identical to that in Germany.
Those who have so far resisted such recognition include the board of the Federal Employment Agency. Well, this will soon be replaced and it is to be hoped that such traditional visual axes will thus evaporate. Dual education may be a good tool for adolescents, but the statesmanlike glorification of it does not do justice to the dynamics of the world of work. This is something that is discussed far too rarely in connection with the shortage of skilled workers:
- Unattractive working conditions
- Too few opportunities for advancement for non-academic employees
- Potential efficiency gains through improved digital work processes
- Purging the work from bullshit jobs
- Making professional biographies more flexible
The labor market and perceptions of it must change, also to make it attractive for migrants to remain in Germany in the long term. Among other things, the linked article reports on this. There needs to be good integration efforts for the whole family, opportunities for advancement, “more opportunities to be semi-skilled or part-skilled.” That’s where everyone has to make an effort. First and foremost the companies, but also the BA, I would want to add.