Study: More Than Half Of German Firms Expect Skilled Labour Shortage

More than half of German firms are expecting skilled labour shortages to be an issue for them again in 2021.

Some 54 per cent of German firms are expecting shortages this year, according to a skilled labour migration report to be released by the Bertelsmann Foundation on Tuesday.

As in 2020, the poll surveyed decision makers from various big firms in Germany. Last year, 55 per cent said they had fewer skilled workers than needed.

"Bigger companies are more often affected by a lack of skilled labour than small companies," said Matthias Mayer, migration expert at the Bertelsmann Foundation and co-author of the study.

"In particular the health sector and construction suffer from shortages," he said.

Firms are focusing on training new and existing employees to fill the gap, as well as developing a better work-life balance to hold on to employees.

Only 17 per cent said they are seeking skilled workers from abroad, and those who did preferred staff from the European Union or European countries, followed by Asia and the Middle East.

Firms showed little experience with skilled workers from Africa. They cited language issues and the valuation of qualifications gained in potential workers' home countries as hurdles.

They said legal hurdles and entry restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic played a secondary role.

Depending on the question, either 500 or 2,500 decision makers in German firms were surveyed for the poll between September 21 and October 20 last year.