According to the Association of German Engineers (VDI), about 70,000 vacancies for engineers could not be staffed in the year 2007. This is an increase of by 45% as compared to the year 2006. The VDI estimates that this huge lack of experts costs the German economy more than 7 billion Euros per year. These figures were revealed by a study conducted by the Institute for the German Economy (IW) in Cologne in the course of which 2,700 businesses were interviewed.
Most affected by this lack are the field of mechanical engineering and the providers of engineering service providers. 75% of the entrepreneurs and managers interviewed think that the situation is „bad“ or “very bad” in this respect. The situation is similarly problematic in the electronics industry and in motor vehicle manufacturing.
For the first time, the IW study could establish the number of vacancies for engineers. In contrast to estimates the real quantity of vacancies for engineers is about seven times as high than that which was communicated to the Federal Labour Agency (BA). Only about 13% of all vacancies were reported to the BA. Thus, about 95,000 engineers are currently sought after by companies in Germany.
In order to reduce this lack of engineers, two thirds of companies invest more money in further training. Flexible working hours are used by more than 60% of the companies interviewed. In addition, more than half of companies take measures to improve the compatibility of private and professional life. More than 40% of personnel departments also recruit older people. In the opinion of the VDI this is one of the most effective measures given that there are still about 10,000 unemployed engineers over the age of fifty available in the market.
Most wanted by the companies interviewed is improved technical and scientific education (by almost 75% of companies). More than 50% of companies would like to see improved conditions at technical universities. Almost 45% think that public scholarship programmes for engineer students are very useful. Two thirds think that the founding of a technical council is of high importance.