The changing labor market.
Today, the world of work faces many new challenges. Which these are, and why they exist, we clarify in the following post.In this interview with Edith Gehnert, Global HR Director, of a large German company in the audit services sector, we discussed exciting insights regarding the labor market, recruiting as well as employee retention. This post is the first part of a blog post series.
One of the great challenges of the current labor market is the shortage of skilled workers. We have all heard of the term, but at what point can we talk about a shortage of skilled workers? What are the causes? And what changes did the pandemic bring about in the first place?
Basically, we speak of a shortage of skilled workers when companies can no longer adequately fill vacancies with qualified applicants over a longer period of time. Affected industries are, for example, care professions such as geriatric and nursing care or professions in the STEM (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences, technology) – and crafts sector.
Global HR Director Edith Gehnert confirms in interview:
The shortage of skilled workers is being felt everywhere, and positions can sometimes go unfilled for months. Especially in Germany. However, this is also country-specific.
Market saturation and the lack of young talent in particular play a key role. The people needed move to other companies, but there is a lack of young talent to fill these positions. As a result, apprenticeship positions, among other things, can no longer be filled. But why do problems like these actually exist? The following reasons provide information about this:
1. The demographic change
The population in Germany is getting older and older, and baby boomers are retiring. As a consequence, experienced skilled workers cannot be replaced quickly enough and there is a shortage of labor. The low birth rate in Germany is also having a negative impact. One way of countering the shortage of workers is immigration. However, this is currently not sufficient and would have to be integrated more strongly into the labor market politically.
2. The early retirement age
Not only are many skilled workers retiring as a result of demographic change, but in many cases they are retiring earlier. The retirement age is often 64,
deductions are accepted or sufficient reserves are available. This means that the figure is already below the set standard retirement age of 67. Accordingly, this also affects the number of skilled workers.
3. Lower occupancy of vocational training positions
After completing high school, many young people are drawn to study. Since here the entrance hurdles were reduced strongly in the last decades. As a result of demographic change, fewer vocational training programs are thus being entered. The effect on the job market: many training places cannot be occupied, that notices in the special one e.g. the handicraft.
However, the labor market has not only changed in terms of the shortage of skilled workers, because especially in recent pandemic times, the aspect of digitalization has moved further into focus. Meetings via teams, Zoom or Skype have become indispensable and processes have become increasingly digital. The pandemic produced some positive aspects that should be retained, according to HR expert Edith Gehnert:
The newfound flexibility should be maintained. Corona is the best proof that mobile or hybrid working works flawlessly. – Edith Gehnert, Global HR Director
Changes in the labor market due to a shortage of skilled workers and the Corona pandemic are unstoppable and will continue to happen. This includes the change from an employer’s market to an employee’s market. A development that will be intensified by the shortage of skilled workers.
In our next blog post, we will answer the question of how to effectively recruit employees despite the change described above.