90 percent of German companies cannot find qualified candidates, survey reveals

90 percent of German companies cannot find qualified candidates, survey reveals

Each week, new figures reveal more about the extent of Germany’s record-high worker shortage. The newest instalment? 90 percent of companies in the federal republic are struggling to find qualified candidates for vacant positions.

German companies desperate for qualified workers

Figures published by the job-seeking platform Stepstone have recently revealed that 90 percent of companies operating in Germany cannot find the qualified workers they need to fill vacant roles. The figures come from a representative survey conducted by the platform, which asked 10.000 professionals about the hiring situation in their workplace.

As a consequence of the lack of staff, 76 percent of the respondents said that their companies were less productive, a 16 percentage point increase compared to the productivity loss rates reported before the coronavirus pandemic. "These numbers are alarming, but shouldn't surprise us anymore," said Tobias Zimmerman, head of insights and creation at Stepstone.

Public sector jobs are hit the hardest

Given that the German public sector, which includes Bürgeramte, Finanzamte, immigration offices, schools and the police, has 360.000 vacant positions, it is unsurprising that 88 percent of public sector employees who took part in the survey said that they felt that the quality of services was being affected by staff shortages.

Some public services in Germany have already been pushed to the absolute brink, with the director of the Berlin Landesamt for Einwanderung (Immigration Office) recently admitting that the office is “on the edge of dysfunctionality”. The situation is similarly desperate in schools and Kitas across Germany. Recent reports by rbb claim that while Berlin has never had so many school pupils, there is a lack of around 1.460 teachers in the capital alone. 

80 percent of wholesale and retail companies said they faced similar problems - and while new hires are planned, many employers are struggling to find candidates with the right qualifications. In the public sector, the German government is being pushed to find a solution to best bridge this gap. Most recently, the FDP called on the coalition government to reduce German language requirements for employees who work in German childcare facilities.

Employers are hesitant to use AI for admin tasks

Stepstone used the publication of its new analysis to announce that the company would be “investing heavily in intelligent technologies that bring companies together with the right job seeker even faster,” but pointed out that many companies in Germany are still overwhelmingly reluctant to employ the help of AI to increase productivity. 

The job-seekers platform claims that every second company that took part in the survey already uses AI for some tasks but was “far from exploiting the potential of the technology”. “AI can provide support, especially with time-consuming administrative tasks. Investing in powerful technology that goes hand-in-hand with human capabilities will pay off,” Zimmerman urged. 

Thumb image credit: UnderhilStudio /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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MirceaN2 14:49 | 25 August 2023

Germany does not need to give up on the German language requirements, they need to take all that money they gave to the Bundeswehr recently and start some actual good integration and career-forming programs for their own, then pay them better. Decent salaries attract capable people. I don't understand why I see a lot of cashiers, bus drivers and clerks who are German nationals - who could earn more and be more... while die Regierung complains about lack of qualified employees.