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Shortage of skilled workers: companies expect this to happen in 2021 despite Corona

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The shortage of skilled workers in Germany remains a challenge for the economy even in times of the corona pandemic. This is the result of a current study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. According to the study, 54 percent of companies anticipate a shortage of skilled workers in 2021. In 2020, 55 percent of companies stated that they had fewer skilled workers than needed.

Only 17 percent of the companies recruit staff from abroad

According to the study, people who have completed vocational training are most wanted. The need varies depending on the size of the company, professional field and region. “Larger companies are more often affected by the shortage of skilled workers than small ones. The health sector and the construction industry in particular suffer from bottlenecks, ”says Matthias Mayer, one of the authors of the study and an expert on migration at the Bertelsmann Foundation.

But what are companies doing to counteract the problem? According to the study, companies primarily train new employees themselves. In addition, they support the existing staff through further training and offer a better balance between family and work in their own company.

Although there are many skilled workers outside of Germany, only 17 percent of those questioned in the study stated that they would recruit skilled workers from abroad. If they do, then they prefer to recruit staff from the EU and other European countries, followed by Asia and the Middle East.

On the other hand, there is still little experience with specialists from Africa. The greatest difficulty in recruiting from abroad is the language barrier and the difficulty of correctly assessing the qualifications acquired in the country of origin. In contrast, legal requirements and corona-related entry restrictions only play a subordinate role.

“Skilled workers from abroad will play an increasingly important role”

According to the study, the corona crisis will have an impact on the demand for and immigration of skilled workers. In which direction, however, is not yet clear. According to the study authors, however, the pandemic will not change the structural challenges of demographic change for the German economy.

“Even if we have to reckon with great uncertainties about developments on the labor market, skilled workers from abroad will play an increasingly important role for German companies in view of the declining number of local workers,” said Mayer.

The skilled worker immigration law passed in early 2020 will become an important factor in making it easier to recruit skilled workers from non-EU countries, said Mayer. However, it is necessary to increase the transparency for job-specific technical competences of foreign skilled workers and to simplify the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad.

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