BERLIN (Dow Jones) – The Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) Kln has warned of a massive shortage of skilled workers in Germany in the coming decades. According to a short study by the institute, the number of skilled workers active in the labor market could decline by 3.1 million or 8.8 percent by 2040. In the worst scenario with low immigration and a small increase in labor force participation, the decline could even amount to 4.2 million or 12 percent.
A trend reversal is hardly possible even with clear regulatory measures. According to this, the number of skilled workers between the ages of 20 and 69 should, in the best-case scenario, only decrease slightly – from 35.5 million last year to 35.2 million. In all three scenarios, the number of academics will continue to rise sharply until 2040, whereas the decline in the number of professionally qualified people is much greater than that of the skilled workers as a whole.
In order to improve the personnel situation for companies, the authors of the study call for stronger incentives for a higher labor force participation of older people, for example through adjustments in pension law or tax advantages. An increase in the current standard retirement age of 67 years around 2031 is also proposed. The IW also calls for better framework conditions for the immigration of skilled workers and further qualification and training in Germany. With a view to the labor force participation of women, the number of hours or full-time equivalents should also be looked at more closely, according to the study.
“The federal government has simply slept through the worrying trend,” warns the Green Party spokesman for industrial policy, Dieter Janecek. The construction industry and mechanical engineering in particular are already severely affected by the shortage of skilled workers, and digitalization also requires new skills. The Greens therefore called for improvements in training, professional training and the law on the immigration of skilled workers. “Because immigration law is still far too complicated, confusing and makes immigration more difficult,” criticizes Janecek.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 07, 2021 7:20 AM ET (11:20 GMT)