There is a shortage of skilled workers in our model world if, when taking into account vocational flexibility, the demand for trained skilled workers is identifiably and permanently above the supply of trained skilled workers. A distinction must be made here from the shortage of labour which does not take into account the necessary vocational qualification and also does not include those with formal vocational qualifications.

On a broad front, no shortage in skilled workers is currently apparent. However, so far our results have referred to Germany as a whole. However, there may well currently already be shortages for both specialist qualifications and / or in individual regions.

There seems to be a reversal in the trend on the job market when regarded overall. Even if in recent years the population has increased due to immigration, it must be assumed that, despite continued increasing gains from migration, there will be a fall in the population by 2030. At the same time, the proportion of elderly in the population is rising with the result that for the first time in decades the supply of labour is no longer increasing and, furthermore, has now begun to fall. On the demand side, there was a massive increase in employment in the boom years 2006 to 2008 (+ 1.2 million people), which was only interrupted briefly by the subsequent economic crisis, with the result that in 2012 a total of 41.6 million people were in dependent employment and the number of registered unemployed fell below 3 million.

As our projections show, the demand for labour is set to increase slightly in the coming years. Despite the fall in employment expected after 2015, the underemployment may well be reduced by 2030, but not completely removed. However, this reduction can only be achieved if the future demand for labour is not just met quantitatively but also in terms of qualifications. The strong fall in labour supply compared to labour demand improves the chances overall for the unemployed when seeking work, but at the same time involves the risk of a shortage of labour or skilled workers in specific qualifications, sectors or occupations (see question 2).

Figure 1: Labour demand and supply to 2030

If we consider the learned occupation itself, then there is already a large shortage of skilled workers in some of the 12 main occupational fields under consideration. However, this approach assumes that there is no vocational flexibility, i.e. that each person is practising the occupations they have actually learned. Assuming the training behaviour continues in line with the status quo from 2011, then the situation would worsen up to 2030, in particular due to demographic aspects and would develop towards an overall shortage in skilled workers.

Figure 2: Difference between labour demand and supply before taking into account occupational flexibility from 2005 to 2030 in main occupational fields - skilled workers only

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

However, many persons in dependent employment do not stay in their learned occupation, but switch to another main occupational field. The reasons for this are varied. The motivation for a change might be improved job, income or promotion opportunities, but also, for example, a better balance between family and career. The so-called flexibility matrix from the BIBB describes this degree of vocational flexibility. It shows, for the BIBB (MAIER et al. 2010)vocational fields, who is working with which learned occupation in which practised occupations. In other words, who stays in their occupational field and who changes. This is not about the reasons for the change, but more about presenting the opportunities and potential competition between occupational fields associated with a specific occupation.

The partial compensation of the demand and supply of labour presented Figure 3 is not solely as a result of the “vocational migration”. Besides the “occupation switchers”, the “practised occupation” characteristic also includes a good 6.2 million people (in 2010) who have never learned an occupation. This group of individuals is therefore also not part of the labour supply (and labour demand).

Figure 3: Difference between labour demand and supply before taking into account occupational flexibility from 2005 to 2030 in main occupational fields

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

On the basis of considering all persons in dependent employment without a formal qualification, tangible differences in results are arrived at compared to the view which does not take vocational flexibility into account. For example, up to 2030 surplus labour in the “office and commercial service occupations (BHF 7)” and the “teaching professions (BHF 12)” will increase. In contrast, shortages are calculated at the individual level in the main occupational fields of " Occupations involving traffic, warehousing, transport, security, guarding (BHF 5)”, " Hotel and restaurant and cleaning occupations (BHF 6)”, “ Artistic, media, humanities and social science occupations (BHF 10)” and the “ Health and social occupations, body care providers (BHF 11)”.

However, when looking at the future development in relation to potential shortages and surpluses in this way, it must always be taken into account that the main occupational fields are highly aggregated. Occupations combined within them may still show different trends. It may well be, for example, that shortages occur in highly specialised individual occupations, although the aggregated main occupational field points to a surplus.

A further potential variable in determining shortages which must be considered is the so-called potential volume of work. This is a hypothetical construct which, in a similar way to the potential economically active population, is intended to state how big the labour supply actually is measured in hours. Up to now, official statistics are only able to monitor the volume of work realised. The actual volume of work supplied however is likely to be somewhat higher because persons in dependent employment do work part-time and in marginal jobs although they would like to work much longer hours. Besides the regular number of working hours completed each week, the Microcensus also asks about the number of working hours desired. Based on this information from the sample, the potential volume of work can be determined. This comprises the realised volume of work and the unrealised volume of work.

Figure 4: Difference between potential volume of work and needed volume of work taking into account occupational flexibility

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

Overall, the examination of hours for all main occupational fields leads to a more relaxed situation than at the individual level. Many people in "occupations involving traffic, warehousing, transport, security, guarding (BHF 5)” and "Hotel and restaurant and cleaning occupations (BHF 6)” work part time and in marginal employment and could imagine extending their regular working hours.

However, it must again be noted that this examination involves main occupational fields which are highly aggregated. In highly specialised individual occupations, for example, shortages may well occur, although the aggregated main occupational field points to a surplus. This may be the case in particular if, in the company's view, there are no alternative occupations vis-a-vis the requirements stipulated and in this case therefore, there is no recourse to vocational flexibility (substitution). So, for example, a labour force shortage (MAIER et al. 2014) continues to exist in the occupational field “health care occupations not requiring approbation (BF 48)”. In addition, the potential surplus or shortage must always be viewed in relation to the total labour demand or supply. Figure 5 therefore shows the relative differences in labour supply and labour demand for the main occupational fields based on the number of people and hours. If we also consider, for example, that among the main occupational fields, “ Legal, management and economic occupations ” has the lowest supply surplus in hours in 2010 at 9 percent, then it becomes clear that recruitment difficulties will not arise until the potential volume of work is not sufficient, but will arise if the relative difference is less than 10 percent.

Figure 5: Labour shortages in working hours 

Source: Microcensus and National Economic Accounting Statistics by the German Federal Bureau of Statisstics, calculation and presentation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

In the foreseeable future it will be more difficult for those individuals to find employment who do not have a completed and certified professional or vocational qualification and who are no longer in the education and training system. The future labour supply of people without a formal professional or vocational qualification will indeed fall by 2030 compared to 2012 (-0.5 million), however, at the same time the demand from the economy for labour from this group will fall much more strongly by almost 0.8 million. In purely mathematical terms under employment results (a gap between supply and demand) of approximately 1.2 million people (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Labour demand and supply by skill level

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

Therefore, there will also be sufficient labour for the foreseeable future for employment activities requiring no formal professional or vocational qualifications. The situation is reversed for the intermediate qualification level. The baby boomer generation are starting to leave the workforce as they approach retirement and due to this the number of the economically active population at this qualification level will fall significantly from the middle of this decade. In contrast to this, the demand for labour with completed professional or vocational qualifications will slightly increase in the coming years, but then also start to decrease at the end of the projection period also due to demographic aspects. The different developments on the supply and demand side mean that subject to status quo conditions the demand would no longer be met at the start of the 2020s at the latest and massive shortages in skilled workers would appear.

In contrast to the other qualification areas, the supply will expand in the tertiary sector (master craftsman, technician, university (of applied sciences)) and, in the initial years, will also be absorbed by the demand. Current developments suggest however that, in the long term, it is not foreseeable that this supply will be taken up even in the upper qualification segment because the current trend in demand does not reflect such a rise. The cause for the trend is the strong tendency to study among young people which will remain at its currently high level for the projection period. A fall is actually anticipated on the supply side compared to 2012 in the master craftsman and technician area (ISCED 5b). The retirement of older people is the driving force behind the forecast shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the intermediate qualification level, whereas in the academic area the new supply of economically active people outweighs this numerically and results in a growth in the labour supply. This means that around 3 million fewer people will newly acquire a fully qualified professional or vocational qualification (ISCED 3b & 4) than people retiring from working life with this qualification. In contrast to this, the supply of people with an academic qualification will increase by 2030 by 1.6 million.

Figure 7: Development of new labour supply compared to persons leaving working life - in Million persons, 2012 to 2030

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave


The extent of the impact of labour force shortages on Germany's regions will be very varied in the long term. The reason for this is the initial starting point in terms of the economic and demographic situations which already prevail.

Difference between supply and demand in 2030 in percent - regional distribution

Source: Zika, Maier u.a. (2015): Arbeitsmarkt 2030: Große regionale Unterschiede. Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB-Kurzbericht, Nürnberg.

In 2030, the northern region (Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein) is also focussed more strongly on agriculture, transport and warehousing compared to other regions. If current trends persist, then a labour shortage is anticipated in the mineral extraction occupations. In contrast to this, labour demand and supply will be balanced in occupations involving traffic, warehousing and transport. Compared to other regions, there will be an excess labour supply in most occupational fields in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In the central west region (Hesse, Rhineland-Platinate, Saarland), the economic structure is also characterized by the finance and insurance sector in 2030. In the areas of commercial occupations and legal and economic occupations, both of which are particularly dominant, there will be an excess supply of skilled workers.

In contrast to the other regions, the population is growing in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. The manufacturing sector will also be the engine behind economic growth there in 2030. In those occupations which are more academic in nature and which dominate in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, i.e. occupations involving the control and maintenance of machines and plants as well as technical and scientific occupations, there will be an excess supply of skilled workers. Bavaria is the region with the least occupational fields in which a shortage is anticipated.

The new federal states including Berlin are reporting the largest fall in population by 2030. Health represents the largest sector from 2020 onwards. According to the authors, the only shortage anticipated in the eastern region is among academics. In addition to this, this is the only region in which no shortage is anticipated in occupations involving the trading and sale of goods.

It is above all in the area of skilled workers with intermediate initial vocational education and training that the projections show shortages in virtually all regions. One exception is Baden-Württemberg, because there great importance is traditionally attached to the completion of vocational training and very few young people leave the education and training system without a qualification. Across the board shortages are anticipated at the vocational level particularly among the technical occupations. The healthcare professions are also frequently affected. The northern regions and North Rhine Westphalia are the only regions with an excess labour supply in the health care occupations.

Further information is available in the project publications QuBe-Regional.

The results of the third wave of the QuBe- project show how the German job market will develop if the trends currently observed are maintained. On the labour supply side, the factors which are most influential in determining the trajectory highlighted here are the immigration, the career choice, participation in training and in the labour force (also in hours) and vocational flexibility. On the demand side, besides the immigration, it is predominantly the economic structural transformation, the trend demand for qualifications and the changes in salaries and working time in the occupational fields.

Therefore, whether or not the relevant skilled workers can be found for specific employment activities in the future will always depend on several integrated factors. However, the population development can be highlighted as the underlying driving force which determines both labour supply as well as labour demand via consumption. Because the birth rate and life expectancy will have no direct impact on the labour force supply in the next 15 years, it is above all immigration which is key for the development of the population in the medium term and for the labour force demand and supply which results from this.

In contrast to the first two waves, the third wave of the qualification and occupational field projections takes into account versions 1-W2 of the 12th coordinated population projection from the Federal Statistical Office. Instead of a constant net immigration of around 100,000 people, this assumes a further rise to 200,000 people entering Germany rather than leaving from 2014 up to 2020. From 2020 onwards, net immigration remains constant at 200,000 people. In contrast to version 1-W1, the size of the working age population (15 to 65 year's old) "only" reduces by approx 6.8 million people compared to 2012 by 2030 as a result of the migration assumptions. We justify the selection of version 1-W2 with the sharply increasing gains from migration as a result of the European economic crisis. In 2012 for example, 370, 000 more people entered Germany than left. The changes which have occurred in the current population level as a result of migration must therefore also be taken into account for the future.

Figure 8: Development of total population and population by age groups

Source: German Office of Statistics. 12. coordinated population forecast and current population estimation


The future development of the labour market situation largely depends on trends which become established over the long-term and impact on policy making and society to determine the demographic and economic situation, and labour market participation. These are the so-called mega trends which are discussed at senior levels in both science and politics, and the existence of which can be understood to some extent by taking a look back at past events.

The mega trends include demographic change, in particular with regard to the ageing population and immigration; the age-related demands on medical and social support, and nursing care; the extent of urbanisation; social mobility and the development of individual preferences regarding the work-life balance.

Mega trends influencing economic structures and interrelationships include, in particular, advancing globalisation, digitalisation of the work environment due to the shift towards Industry 4.0, Germany's move towards alternative energy driven by climate change, and the increasing scarcity of resources.

And finally there are the mega trends which will alter participation in the labour market and strengthen social justice and participation. In terms of the workplace, the higher levels of qualification in society and the greater depth of knowledge required in occupations will play a role, as will the creation of new forms of employment as a result of greater self-marketing.

A more detailed discussion of the individual mega trends, their potential impacts on the German labour market and how this is taken into account in the BBIB-IAB qualifications, is also available in Helmrich et. al. (2015).

Industry 4.0, and the digitalisation of the economy and the work environment which is associated with this, has become a reality already in many sectors, while in others the importance of this will increase over the years ahead. The exact nature of what will emerge from advancing digitalisation is unknown. However, we must assume that it will be accompanied by

  1. increased investment in equipment,
  2. increased infrastructure investment,
  3. a different form of materials and personnel expenditure,
  4. different occupational fields and qualification structures,
  5. a potential increase in the demand for new goods.

By analysing how these changes interact with the aid of scenario calculations (see Wolter et. al 2015 for more information), initial results can be obtained regarding the potential impacts on the German labour market.

These results show that Industry 4.0 will result neither in a large-scale fall, nor a major upturn in employment. However, there will be significant redeployment in the workplace. Within a period of 10 years, 490,000 jobs will be lost over and above the baseline scenario, while 430,000 new jobs will be created in other areas. This will accelerate the structural change towards a services-orientated economy. The losses will arise in the processing industries primarily among occupations involving a high proportion of routine activities. Gains will be seen above all in the service sectors among those occupations involving minimal routine.

The occupations which stand to benefit the most are in the technical and scientific sector (primarily IT occupations), in the areas of business consultancy and in the teaching occupations. The academic sector gains in terms of levels of qualification, while significant losses occur in the vocational sector. Demand for individuals with lower level qualifications will also fall. All in all, Industry 4.0 may therefore go some way to offsetting the imbalance which is emerging on the labour market. This will tend to result in an alleviating the bottlenecks in the vocational sector. By contrast, additional demand will be created for the level of supply in the academic sector which is rising rapidly.

The key requirements for the digitalisation of the economy are IT knowledge and skills. It is apparent that there will be increasing demand for IT occupations over the coming years. Demand for people with higher-level qualifications will continue to increase in this sector. Although this demand should seen as complementary to that of IT specialists in the intermediate qualification sector, as they can also anticipate even better employment opportunities in the future. A shortage of skilled workers does not appear likely in this occupational field despite the increased demand (cf. Hall et.al. 2015).

It should be that the scenario analysis is based assumptions of positive economic development. However, this also means if the implementation of digitalisation is delayed or even protracted in the German economy, then the assumptions will act against Germany as an economic location. We will be exporting less and demanding more “new goods” from abroad.

Over recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the number of registered refugees in addition to the increasing immigration (in particular from Central and Eastern Europe). According to information from the Central Register of Foreign Nationals, the non-native populations grew by 448,000 in the first eight months of 2015 alone. Of these, 414,000 are new registrations from refugees (cf. Brücker et. al. 2015). This high level of immigration will impact in many ways on the demand and supply of labour in Germany. However, at this point, it is only possible to make approximate assessments as to the extent of this impact. This is due to the uncertainty surrounding the actual level of the flow of refugees - in particular the non-registered refugees and families following on afterwards - as well as the uncertainty regarding how well the refuges can be integrated into the labour market.

On the demand side it can be said that the level of private household consumption, government expenditure and building investment will rise due to the increase in population caused by the flow of refugees. This economic stimulus will result in increased demand for goods and services, in particular in the sectors listed in table 1. As a result, this will create more jobs in the sectors affected in line with the occupation and qualification structure (see Sonnenburg et. al. 2015).

Table 1: Qualitative assessment of the 10 industrial sectors most in demand due to the inflow of refugees.

Source: Calculations QINFORGE; ,+++' rank 1-3; ,++' rank 4-6; ,+' rank 7-10; ,O' rank > 10; rank refers to 63 economic sectors

The success with which refugees integrate in the German labour market is the most important aspect in being able to assess the impact on the supply of labour. This may depend on the extent to which foreign qualifications are recognised in Germany (see BMBF 2015 for more information), and how great the hidden qualification potential of the refugees is.

Information regarding the age, qualification and occupational structure of the refugees is relevant for the latter. The age structure of asylum seekers is largely known. In 2014, 81 percent of refugees were younger than 35, and 55 percent were younger than 25. Of this, the proportion under 15 years of age was 28 percent. (Brücker et. al. 2015). The refugee population is thus comparatively young. Although the relevant information available to date is not representative, there are indications in terms of qualification structure of a lower level of vocational qualifications among refugees than compared to other immigrants and Germans (Brücker et. al. 2015). However, the younger age of the refugees means that they offer a higher level of qualification potential, in particular, for vocational education and training.

However, in view of the imminent shortage of skilled workers in Germany, the extent to which refugees represent appropriate potential supply at the occupational level is also important. Up to now and in comparison with all employees, foreign nationals from war-torn regions and countries affected by crises have been employed predominantly in the “hotel and hospitality trade” and in “other business services” (Brücker et.al. 2015). In contrast, they are under-represented in the “manufacturing sector”, in the “construction industry” and in the “health” sector. In the long-term, however, the likelihood of skilled worker shortages is greatest in the processing and manufacturing industries (particularly in the skilled crafts), in the technical sector and in the health occupations without approbation (Maier et. al. 2014). If the information regarding the qualification structure is corroborated, then there is good reason to assume that the imminent shortage of skilled workers might not be solved without further qualifications by a high influx of refugees.

Investigations have shown that an increase in the labour force participation rate of women and the longer working lifetime will only have a temporary effect (BONIN et al. 2007). It is mainly in the area of those with higher level qualifications that the labour force participation rate of women is high when compared to the other qualification levels. In the studies quoted, it is immigration alone which has proven to be an important parameter in both the medium and short term for counteracting the impending shortage in skilled workers. However, other studies have also shown that even a net inward migration of 300,000 people annually will not compensate for the fall in the population, but instead only delay it (FUCHS and WEBER 2005).

However, continual immigration to Germany is essential for maintaining the level of the economically active population. For example, an alternative scenario which was calculated in the second projection wave of the QuBe project shows that without gains from migration as compared with an assumed inward migration of around 100,000 people, Germany would have a shortfall of 1.5 million economically active people in 2030 (MAIER et al. 2012: S. 33). The specific recruitment of foreign skilled workers and thus the targeted management of immigration is therefore absolutely one option for meeting the looming shortage of skilled workers.

On the one hand, it would be helpful if the prevailing climate in Germany is one which would make the immigrants feel welcome. Integration must be made easier. In addition to this however, companies (see question 13 et seqq.) and politicians have their part to play. This includes measures to retain foreign students in the country and to create overall conditions which make it easier for foreign skilled workers to access the market. For example, the recognition and certification of skills acquired abroad by immigrants also has an important role to play here. It is for this purpose that the Law for the Amendment of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BGFQ) which entered into force on 1 April 2012 makes it possible to examine the equivalence of a foreign qualification in those occupations the practice of which is regulated in Germany by means of legal or administrative provisions. It can also help to determine skills equivalence for occupations which are not regulated in that it offers potential employers some orientation in the assessment of the applicant and thus makes it easier for these applicants to access the market.

A cost to the economy would arise in particular if in addition to the shortage of skilled workers, there was mass unemployment at the same time. However, if we manage to achieve full employment, then we should not be talking in terms of costs to the economy. Under full employment, there would of course be companies who could produce more goods or provide more services if more labour were available. However, these companies would then have to expand abroad.

Occupations in areas of mathematics, computer studies, natural sciences and technology (MINT) are mainly among the highly specialised individual professions which means that shortages may always occur here even if a rough analysis of these occupation fields does not point to any bottleneck. This is mainly due to the fact that specialist activities which are mostly practised in these occupations require a longer training time and accordingly can only be performed by qualified personnel. In this case there are not many opportunities for the business to substitute using people qualified in other areas. This leads to the perception that in Germany, we are heading towards a shortage of skilled workers in the highly qualified MINT areas because currently we are already experiencing recruitment problems in these occupation fields (BUNDESAGENTUR FÜR ARBEIT 2012) and the demographic trend referred to will only exacerbate this.

However, it is actually the case that we are witnessing a strong trend towards higher level qualifications in Germany in addition to the demographic change process which is counteracting the demographic change in the academic professions, because the new supply in occupations is more highly qualified than those people which are departing from working life (see also question 5). Over the period from 2005 to 2011, the share of students in the subject groups of “engineering”, “biosciences”, “physics”, “mathematics and statistics” and “technology” has increased in proportion to all students from 43.9% (men) and 18.3% (women) to 47.7% (men) and 20.2% (women) (STATISTISCHES BUNDESAMT 2012).

Table 1: Share of school graduates with university entrance qualification and university entrance rate compared to population of the same age

In a projection of supply of occupations with predominantly academic characteristics MINT, the supply of those people who have learned a corresponding occupation in occupational field 8 “technical and scientific occupations” increases from 4.2 million to 4.4 million by 2030. In 2030 it is therefore still clearly above the demand, although this is also rising slightly.

Figure 9: Labour supply and demand in occupational field 8: "technical and scientific occupations" - without occupational flexibility - in 2011 and 2030

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

As already explained in the answer to question 4, not every economically active person remains in the occupation they have learned during their working life. In the MINT professions, it can be shown in a cross section analysis for example, that only around 50 percent of the economically active population stay in their learned main occupational field (micro census 2011), because skills from the MINT area can also be applied in other occupations. On the other hand, the inflow of non-specialist occupations into the MINT occupations is lower because in these occupations it follows that specialist skills are needed. Taking into account this vocational flexibility, it can then be determined that almost two thirds of people in employment in the MINT occupations have also trained in this main occupational field, while the remaining third have a non-specialist highest level vocational qualification (Microcensus 2011). Since the remuneration in the MINT occupations is already above average for persons in employment, then other occupations fields, even in the projections period up to 2030, will not become attractive to the extent that people with a learned occupation in the MINT careers will leave the occupation they have learned in a more pronounced manner than in the past. The potential labour force supply for the MINT occupations will therefore also exceed the corresponding demand in 2030. Nevertheless, the growth in academic occupations shows that the MINT discussion does not go quite far enough and that the focus should not just be placed on the highly qualified individuals. The changes in the intermediate qualification area are much more far-reaching due to the retirement of the baby boomer generation with the result that the threat of future shortages is less apparent in development, but much more in the downstream production sector.

Figure 10: Labour supply and demand in occupational field 8: "technical and scientific occupations" - including occupational flexibility - in 2011 and 2030

Source: Microcensus, calculation of the QuBe project, 3rd Wave

Currently the proportion of female economically active people who have a learned occupation in the “technical and scientific occupations” is just under 24% (micro census 2011). However, to conclude from this that MINT occupations are not attractive to women does not go far enough. It is certainly the case that the proportion of men and women who are in a learned MINT occupation is around 3.43:1 for the over 50s, however it is only 3.15:1 in the 35 to 49 age group and for the 15 to 34 age group it is 3.06:1. The proportion of women among the MINT occupations is therefore increasing slightly in the younger cohorts. This trend is also apparent in the tendency to study. For example, over the period from 2005 to 2011, the proportion of the subjects “engineering”, “biosciences”, “physics”, “mathematics and statistics” and “technology” rose from 18.3% to 20.2%, although this is not as high as for the men over the same period (from 43.9% to 47.7%) (STATISTISCHES BUNDESAMT 2012).

The proportion of those young women who stay in their learned MINT occupation is around 38% (men 54 %). However this proportion is also age dependent. The rate among younger women of 53 % is much higher than in the older age groups (men 62 %). In the 35 -49 age group, the proportion falls to 39% (men 54 %) and to 26 % for 50 year olds and older (men 48 %). (All calculations are based on the Microcensus 2011). The strongly age dependent development among women suggests that, particularly at the time of starting a family, employment in the MINT occupations seems less attractive for women. Companies may counteract this trend with the introduction of more family friendly working conditions and might make the MINT occupations more attractive for women.

Generally speaking, companies will have to develop an even more positive image for the recruitment of skilled workers in future in order to stand out from the competition and to be more attractive to skilled workers. This relates to foreign competition in particular. In some circumstances the improvement compared to domestic competition increases the chances against fellow applicants, but does not alleviate the shortage in skilled workers economically. In practice, this includes concepts relating to work-life balance, flexible working models and teleworking as well as leisure time provision (e.g. sports groups or general continuing education programmes not related to the occupation). Here, in particular, the emphasis is increasingly on balancing family and career. Positioning as a family-friendly company also succeeds in appealing to women and therefore responds to the shortage of skilled workers by increasing the proportion of women among the persons in employment.

In view of the trend in the age structure, companies have no other option than to increasingly rely on older labour. Continuing education is an important tool for providing these individuals with the right qualifications. The trends in the labour force participation rates for older people may be an initial indicator for this. The raising of the retirement age also has an impact.

Companies must fundamentally rethink their recruitment behaviour and pay attention to both domestic as well as foreign young skilled workers at a very early stage and over the long-term (also as part of increased participation in education and training). Policy makers can create the framework conditions - in particular with a view to the options for immigration of skilled workers and the recognition and certification of skills acquired abroad. Under the overall control of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal government initiated the law for the Amendment of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG) in April 2012, the intention of which is to support the checking and recognition of qualifications acquired abroad and thus to make a contribution to securing skilled workers. Since the start of 2013, the BIBB has been monitoring the implementation of the BQFG on behalf of the BMBF.


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