Shortage of skilled workers - a risk for corporate development

by Hannes Krüger, unitcell, January 2016

In many industries, there is already a significant shortage of skilled workers and labor, which, according to experts, will become even more acute in the coming years.

According to a survey conducted by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) in 2014, 37% of the companies surveyed already see their performance threatened. KFW also concluded in its 2014 company survey that the availability of skilled workers is the most important location factor for German companies.

The reasons for the shortage of skilled workers in Germany lie, on the one hand, in the demographic trend toward an aging society and, on the other, in the quantitative and qualitative mismatch between vacant jobs and available job seekers. Incidentally, this applies not only to academics but is also pronounced to varying degrees in many sectors, irrespective of the level of education and professional qualifications.

In view of this growing shortage of skilled workers in some sectors, the question arises as to what adequate measures companies need to take in order to acquire new potential skilled workers on the one hand and retain existing staff in the long term on the other. The employees of Generation Y, for example, differ from those of the baby boomers, as do their inclinations toward more flexible working hours, individual participation in shaping the working environment and content, pension plans, company sports, bonus systems or social commitment.

For this reason, it is important for companies to take a holistic view of their existing and future staff, to classify the individual employee groups, and to identify and meet their individual needs in order to strengthen their identification with the company and thus make optimum use of employee potential in the long term.