This is YOUR chance!

By Lisa Janz

The German labour market before the pandemic

Looking at the German labour market prior pandemic, the lack of skilled workers had already been severe. A study conducted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung which was released in February 2019, states that Germany is dependent on immigration from countries outside of Europe. Referring to this study, by 2060, Germany will require an annual immigration of 260,000 people. The study claims that roughly 114,000 immigrants can be expected to move from other countries within the EU yearly, and about 146,000 workers would have to immigrate from countries outside the EU.

The German labour market today

The pandemic seems to have flipped the entire labour market around. Digitization was pushed to enable as many workers as possible to work from home. Others got reduced working hours or had to stay at home. People started questioning their work-life balance more than ever and even started to change jobs. That caused a massive fluctuation in the labour market.

In October 2021, Chairman of the German Federal Employment Agency Detlef Scheele said that we’re currently searching for 1.2 million workers, two-thirds of which are skilled professionals. As part of the demographic change, aging is increasing the bottlenecks in the skilled labor sector. According to current forecasts, the working-age population, i.e., people between 20 and under 65, will fall by 3.9 million to 45.9 million in 2030. In 2060, there will already be 10.2 million fewer people of working age. So let’s take a closer look at what that means and what Germany is doing to fill these gaps.

Germany lacks skilled professionals

Skilled workers ensure innovation and competitiveness, growth and employment, prosperity and quality of life. Given the demographic development, securing the need for skilled workers is one of the major challenges of the coming decades for all actors within politics, business and science.

There could be a lack of approximately three million skilled workers, technicians, researchers and medical professionals by 2030, according to the Prognos Research Institute. In its most recent progress report, even the Federal Ministry of Labour warns of a shortfall of qualified professionals. 

The areas particularly affected by the shortage of skilled workers include:

  • Academic professionals in medicine, mechanical and automotive engineering, electrical engineering, IT and software development and programming.
  • Crafts: Electrical installation and assembly, machining technology, plastics processing, pipeline construction, welding technology, mechanical engineering.
  • Nursing: Healthcare, sick and elderly care.

Digitisation influences the labour market

Especially the demand for digital skills is increasing – and increasingly also in non-technical occupations. This is shown in a survey conducted by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, with analysts from Coleman Parkes.

Due to the speed of change, the supply of digitally trained professionals can often no longer meet the demand. As a result, companies find it challenging to fill vacancies adequately, but many do not know how to define their new digital profiles. The digital transformation brings many changes to the labor market. This results in challenges that require unique solutions.

As positive as the mood is in the job market, the picture is very mixed when it comes to the relationship between the supply of digital jobs and the available candidates. The reason: Technological progress has dramatically diversified the labour market. Job profiles often differ in requirements by industry or company. Existing professions are becoming more and more digital. At the same time, entirely new jobs are being created, for which there are only a few trained specialists who are in great demand. 

In addition to the job profiles that have been around for a long time and which have been complemented by digital aspects, digital transformation has also created many new jobs that did not exist until a few years ago. Due to the sudden demand, there are often too few trained specialists who can fulfill these roles and are therefore in great demand. For recruiters, this means getting creative to fill vacancies.

The future of the German economy depends to a large extent on how well the skilled labour base can be secured and expanded. For this reason, the federal government has presented a strategy to secure skilled workers sustainably.

The future of the German economy depends to a large extent on how well the skilled labour base can be secured and expanded.

Lisa Janz

International professionals in high demand

Hiring qualified professionals from abroad is an essential aspect of securing a sufficient number of skilled workers. A cosmopolitan culture is crucial to interest specialists worldwide in a career in Germany – in politics, society, administration, and business itself. 

On March 1st, 2020, the Federal Government passed the Skilled Immigration Act, making it easier for non-EU citizens with professional qualifications to access the German labour market. This marks a new era in the German employment market. Now, it is easier to access the German labour market. Doors are open to any vocation, i.e., any profession and it doesn’t matter anymore whether the job is in high demand. However, STEM experts are essential for the German economy since they work in leading and innovative German industries and generate a lot of added value. That’s why Germany actively welcomes foreigners to work in STEM fields. The government has even lowered the minimum required salary for jobs in high demand of skilled workers for the EU Blue Card to 37,752 EUR gross annually. 

What does that mean for people considering to move to Germany?

Now is the best time to apply for jobs in Germany from abroad. Even though the pandemic has caused a lot of suffering and limitations, it has also created a massive opportunity for foreigners to search and land a job in Germany with little to no risk. Recruiting has transformed into many job interviews being conducted online rather than in person. So why not apply for a job in Germany from wherever you are currently located? You don’t always have to go for a job seeker visa, i.e., coming to Germany first and then searching for a job here. You also have the opportunity to apply for a job. Suppose you have found employment that is in line with your qualifications. In that case, you can apply for the EU Blue Card or a residency permit for qualified professionals without coming to Germany beforehand. Now is the right time to enter the German labour market.

If you’re interested in searching and landing your dream job in Germany, I can help you. As Job Coach Germany, I have successfully supported hundreds of international professionals in landing their dream job in Germany. Through my more than ten years of experience in HR and recruiting in Germany and the UK, I know what is necessary for you to be invited to a job interview and secure the position of your choice. Feel free to check out my website to learn more about how we can work together.

Further readings and sources I used to write this article:

Lisa Janz is an Employability Specialist with a passion for the future of work. It is her job to help you find a career that makes you happy, and give you the tools you need to succeed in it. Check out her website for more information:


  1. severe (adj.): streng
  2. bottleneck (noun): Engpass
  3. ensure (verb): (etw.) sicherstellen
  4. diversified (adj.): abwechslungsreich
  5. job vacancy (noun): freie Stelle

Discussion Questions

  1. What can the German government do to attract skilled workers to Germany?
  2. How will Germany’s aging population affect the job market?
  3. How will the interview process change with the introduction of digital tools like Zoom/Teams?
  4. How competitive will Germany be in the global economy in 10-20 years?

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