Germany’s worker shortage reaches record highs

Germany’s worker shortage reaches record highs

Germany desperately needs migrant workers to fill the more than 630.000 jobs which are already vacant in the federal republic. A study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) has revealed that the country’s worker shortage has now reached record levels.

Shortage of candidates for nine out of 10 qualified positions

The numbers were already concerning in 2021, with 355.188 positions lying vacant across the federal republic. Now, the figure is significantly larger. According to a department report of the IW, Germany is missing 630.000 workers.

The more qualified the job, the harder it is to find a suitable employee, the IW report explained. Candidates who have been through higher education are particularly sought after and the fields of IT, electrical engineering, construction and planning and supervision are particularly affected by the deficit. In these areas, the study found that for nine out of 10 vacant positions in Germany, there is a shortage of qualified candidates.

Jobs in health, social services, education and teaching are facing a particularly stark worker shortage. If the current trend continues, two studies have forecast that Germany will be in need of 80.000 teachers by 2030.

Welcoming migrant workers essential for Germany, study emphasises

In March 2022, 45.6 million people were employed in Germany - more than ever before-  and last year, almost 70 percent of new German jobs were carried out by foreign workers. Between plans to introduce the Chancenkarte points system and making more targeted appeals to encourage migrant workers to come to Germany, the government is making some efforts to reckon with the current and future shortage.

Authors of the new IW report are joining the chorus of experts explaining that if Germany wants to tackle the shortage effectively, welcoming more migrant workers is a must. According to the report, the increase in positions where the employee is obliged to make social security contributions was almost entirely thanks to non-EU migrants, Federal Employment Agency director, Andrea Nahles pointed out.

To emphasise the importance of migration for the German economy, Nahles said, “Even if we leverage all domestic potential, this will not be possible without further immigration, also for demographic reasons. We need both labourers and skilled workers.”

While the German government is setting some frameworks in place to encourage migrant workers to come to the federal republic, its critics argue that more needs to be done to make the country a more attractive place to move to, by tackling the country’s parallel problem, the worst housing crisis in 20 years, and making the attached administrative processes less bureaucratic.

Thumb image credit: industryviews /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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eddieedmond2 23:44 | 1 July 2023

They need social workers so bad but they’re paying them the mere equivalent of what is now normal rent for an 80m2 apartment in Berlin (that is, if an apartment can be found in the first place). Ridiculous.