Threat of personnel shortages: One in four companies fears for their competitiveness

Threat of staff shortages
One in four companies fears for their competitiveness

The shortage of skilled workers has long been affecting almost all industries. This emerges from a survey by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. As a result, many companies cannot fill vacancies. In order to prevent greater damage, the association is insisting on reforms.

According to a survey, one in four industrial companies (27 percent) in Germany is worried about their competitiveness due to ongoing personnel shortages. The number of skilled workers, like the high energy costs, is a challenge – “perhaps even greater in the medium term,” explained the managing director of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Achim Dercks. Costs could fall again, but demographic change will continue for the time being.

The shortage of skilled workers not only affects industry, but also large parts of the economy and now affects almost all sectors. The survey shows that every second of the almost 22,000 companies surveyed has vacancies at least partially unfilled. “Only a fifth of the companies looking have no problem filling vacancies,” explained Dercks. The most common shortage (55 percent) was a dual-trained workforce.

Around eight out of ten companies (82 percent) expected the staff shortages to have negative consequences for their own operations. 40 percent would have to limit their offering. Reduced opening times, long waiting times for appointments or loss of service are “no longer uncommon,” explained the DIHK.

16 percent of companies could invest less in Germany, and in industry the figure is even higher at 22 percent. Machine tool construction (32 percent), motor vehicle construction (31 percent), but also medical technology (27 percent) and manufacturers of data processing equipment, electrical and optical products (22 percent) are particularly affected.

“Bottlenecks endanger our success in key industries”

“These are alarming values. Because the bottlenecks endanger our success in important key technologies,” emphasized Dercks. When it comes to important future tasks such as climate neutrality, digitalization, electromobility and healthcare, the economy can only make rapid progress if the skilled workers are there.

To counteract this, more intensive further training and education, more employment of women and older people, the integration of the unemployed and flexible working time models are needed. The DIHK also described the immigration of skilled workers from abroad as an “important pillar”. 54 percent of companies hoped for accelerated administrative procedures. “Months of waiting for a visa appointment, documents getting stuck in the mail, missing contacts at the immigration office – all of this must be a thing of the past,” demanded Dercks.

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