Improved training opportunities for young people, increasing recruitment problems for companies

Die Entwicklung des Ausbildungsmarktes im Jahr 2011

Joachim Gerd Ulrich, Simone Flemming, Ralf-Olaf Granath, Elisabeth M. Krekel

Translated by: Paul David Doherty (Global-Sprachteam)

The training market situation has improved for young people as compared to the same period in the previous year. This is the finding of market analyses based on data from the BIBB survey on newly concluded training contracts as of 09/30/2011 in conjunction with the Training Market Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency.

In 2011, 599,800 training places were offered on the training market, 20,300 more than the year before. The number of training places offered by companies increased markedly (+30,800), while the predominantly publicly funded non-company training was reduced (-10,500). Vying for those places were 646,900 training place applicants, 2,300 more than in 2010. Since the supply grew much faster than demand, the training opportunities for young people improved. The supply/demand ratio stood at 92.7%, 2.8 percentage points higher than in 2010. A total of 570,100 training contracts were concluded (+10,200). At the end of 2011, the year under review, there were still 76,700 young people looking for training places (7,900 less than a year earlier) and the number of training places still unfilled at that time had increased by 10,100 to 29,700.

Overview of the development of the training market from 2010 to 20111)
   2010 2011  abs. in %
Supply of training places
total 579.565 599.829 20.264 3,5%
places successfully filled (= new training contracts) 559.960 570.140 10.180 1,8%
places unfilled 19.605 29.689 10.084 51,4%
in-company training places offered 538.522 569.335 30.813 5,7%
non-company places offered 41.043 30.494 -10.549 -25,7%
Demand for training places
total 644.557 646.880 2.323 0,4%
demand met (= new training contracts) 559.960 570.140 10.180 1,8%
demand not met 84.597 76.740 -7.857 -9,3%
Supply/demand ratio (places offered per 100 applicants)) 89,9 92,7 2,8
1) 1) The figures relate to the period under review, from 01 October to 30 September
"in-company" = not (predominantly) publicly funded
"non-company" = (predominantly) publicly funded
Sources: Training Market Statistics of the Federal Employment Agency, Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, Survey of 09/30.

Development background

Demographic development made itself felt in the training market in 2011 again; the number of school leavers without university entrance qualifications - the main clientele of the dual system of vocational education and training - declined by approx. 19,000 over the previous year and amounted to 549,000, or more than 165,000 less than seven years ago. The doubling of high school graduates in Bavaria and Lower Saxony and the suspension of military and civilian service, however, gave additional stimuli to the training market. There were officially 646,900 applicants for training places, 2,300 more than in 2010.

The supply of training places increased significantly more, however, by approx. 20,300. If we leave out the "non-company" training programs, the increase was even as high as 30,800. The positive supply trend was triggered above all by the good economic situation; the gross domestic product rose in the first quarter of 2011 by 4.7% and in the second quarter by 2.7% over the corresponding quarters of the previous year. For businesses, however, it was more difficult in 2011 than at any time since the mid-1990s to find trainees for their apprenticeships. Overall, just under 29,700 (+10,100) or 5.0% (2010: 3.4%) of the apprenticeships offered could not be filled. The number of newly concluded training contracts, 570,000 nationwide, was therefore only 10,200 higher than the previous year.

The demographic trend and the only modest increase in the development of demand for training places alone, however, cannot explain the increasing problems in filling training places. For at the end of the reporting year 2011 (which ended in September) there were still significantly more candidates looking for training places (a total of 76,700) than there were vacant apprenticeships (29,700).

In purely mathematical terms, each of the places still open could thus have been filled more than twice. That this did not succeed is essentially the result of strong regional and occupational imbalances in the training place market. The young people interested in training often do not live in sufficient numbers where there are enough apprenticeships to fill, and where there are especially large numbers of young people interested in training there are sometimes still far too few apprenticeships. Among the regions with a strong supply surplus in the year 2011 where the Stralsund employment agency district, dominated by Baltic Sea tourism (120 training places to 100 applicants), as well as the districts of Annaberg (110 places offered), Rostock (108 places offered), Passau, Schwandorf (106 each) and Traunstein (105). There were far too few training places compared to the number of young people interested in training, however, in the regions of Herford and Helmstedt (81 offers per 100 applicants each), Solingen, Bremerhaven and Recklinghausen (82 each), among others.

In addition to regional imbalances, there were considerable occupational imbalances again in 2011 in the vocational training market. They may have been exacerbated in 2011 by the fact that the additional demand stimulus triggered by the doubling of upper secondary school graduate classes benefited not all occupations equally but for the most part the typical occupations of upper secondary school graduates. There was little need to worry about having their training places filled in 2011 for the companies offering apprenticeships in the trades of animal care worker, visual marketing designer, audio and video media designer, photographer or digital and print media designer. The demand on the part of young people there was very high, and accordingly there were few places offered in relation to the number of candidates (the supply/demand ratio - the number of places offered per 100 applicants - varied only between 54 and 74). The situation was very different in the occupations of restaurant professional, fast-food and catering professional, plumber, food salesperson, butcher and facade cleaner. From the perspective of young people the supply of training places in these occupations was very good, but it was very difficult for the companies to fill their training places. Between 15% and 26% of the officially registered in-company training places, depending on the occupation, went unused.

By the year 2025, the number of general secondary school leavers and graduates without university entrance qualifications in eastern Germany will stabilize at a low level. In western Germany, on the other hand, the number will continue to fall markedly. A reduction in the imbalances in the training market is essential if large numbers of training place applicants are not to remain unsuccessful in their search for training places despite overall favourable training market conditions for young people. Examples of weighty barriers in regional terms are the very young age of the applicants (many are only 16) and the associated constraints (e.g. lack of a driver's license), and probably also the lack of family conditions and opportunities to support mobility. In occupational terms, the poor social image of individual occupations in the eyes of young people plays a role, as do unfavourable training conditions as well. One-sided gender preferences on the part of young people may also be a disadvantage. Because if an occupation is desirable only for girls or only for boys this means at the same time for the companies affected that they must write off from the start about half the potential candidates.


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