Germany is facing an increasing shortage of skilled workers in the coming decades, according to a study by the German Economic Institute (IW) published on Wednesday.
If the retirement age stays the same and there is no increase in targeted immigration, German businesses could lose one in eight skilled employees – without counting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the IW.
The study looked at what will happen to the German labour market once the baby boomer generation retires.
If retirement rules don’t change and immigration is low – the worst-case scenario – 4.2 million skilled workers, or 12 per cent, will exit the workforce by 2040, the IW found.
According to the more likely middle scenario, the number of skilled workers will decline by 3.1 million, or 8.8 per cent, it found.
However, if immigration rules are adjusted and the retirement age pushed back, the number of skilled workers between ages 20 and 69 could be kept almost stable in the coming years, the study said.
Nonetheless, the German economy should prepare for structural change as more and more people chose an academic education over professional training.
This will result in a different composition of the skilled workforce in the future, the IW researchers said.