Employment agency combats shortage of skilled workers: training is key issue

Employment agency combats shortage of skilled workers: training is key issue

“The economy lacks skilled workers.” This complaint is not new, and the fact that the economy is currently weakening and many a company has laid off employees has not changed the fact that many another is struggling to find well-trained personnel.

Reason enough for the employment agency in the Bayreuth-Hof district to make the search for skilled workers a key issue in 2020. This will not only be about making German employees fit for qualified jobs through training and further education. Instead, the aim is to recruit skilled workers from abroad in order to fill vacancies where the shortage is particularly great.

For example, in nursing care. As Sebastian Peine, head of the Bayreuth-Hof employment agency, and Udo Kolb, managing director for operations, explained, the demand here can no longer be met with domestic workers alone. This is taken into account by the still relatively new skilled labor immigration law, which is intended to facilitate acquisition abroad.

Employees from abroad

At present, the employment agencies are trying to bring skilled workers to Germany, especially from the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the Philippines and Mexico. “Triple Win, a “triple win this promises, according to Peine. In those countries, there is a surplus of suitable employees who cannot find a job there. They will be given the chance to gain further qualifications and thus contribute to meeting the demand in Germany.

Of course, the employment agency’s commitment is not limited to recruiting skilled workers for the care sector alone. There is a shortage of well-trained employees in many industries – for example, in the electrical sector or in metalworking.

Vacancies not to be filled

While in 2007 more than 7,000 skilled workers were competing for just over 1,000 suitable positions, at the end of last year 4,125 skilled workers were unemployed and 3,550 positions were vacant. “With such a ratio, it is no longer possible to fill all vacancies”, emphasizes Udo Kolb.

Training and continuing education will play a major role in the future activities of the employment agency. To date, people without vocational qualifications, who are actually in the minority in the world of work, account for just under half (45.1 percent) of the unemployed.

Prevention is important

This will be one of the possible starting points for the agency. Udo Kolb: “We don’t want to wait until someone like that comes to us, but rather take preventive action.” In other words, these people are to be encouraged, also with the support of employers, to continue their education with the aim of obtaining a degree.

“Prevention instead of reaction is therefore also the motto under which the Employment Agency will operate, particularly in three areas. On the one hand, the agency wants to advise young people before they enter the workforce – including high school students, to whom it wants to show alternatives to university studies more than in the past. On the other hand, as already mentioned, the aim is to advise employers and employees and provide information on support measures for training and further education.

And finally, in the traditional area of consulting and placement, the focus is to be placed on the topic of training and continuing education even more strongly than before.

Some of these measures have already been successful in the past year. In total, the Employment Agency has spent about 10 million euros on such measures in 2019.

Million-dollar budget

2020 the budget should be at least as high. The measures then also include the integration of refugees in the primary labor market, the aforementioned recruitment of foreign skilled workers and lifelong career counseling. “We want to make the unemployed and employed fit for the future.”

Pleasingly few people without a job

When the economy weakens, it has an impact on the job market. Also in Kulmbach. Nevertheless: “The unemployment figures here are at a gratifyingly low level.” This is what Sebastian Peine, head of the Bayreuth-Hof Employment Agency, says. The figures make this clear: the unemployment rate in the agency district is currently 3.6 percent. Although this is more than the Upper Franconian (3.2) or Bavarian (2.8) average, it is less than the national average with a rate of 4.9 percent. Kulmbach has a remarkable figure of only 3.1 percent. A total of 1307 people were unemployed here at the end of last year, significantly fewer than ten years ago when 2336 people were still looking for work at an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

Potential fully exploited

In the last 15 years, the region has noticeably reduced its gap to the Bavarian average. If one registered 2005 in the agency district still another unemployment rate of 10,5 per cent and Bavaria far one of 7,3 per cent, the agency district lies today around only 0,8 per cent points over the national rate of 2,8 per cent.

According to Peine, despite a decline in the population, there are now significantly more jobs subject to social insurance contributions than in 2005: “There is simply potential being exploited. More women and more older people are working, among other things. And more foreigners.”

By the way, contrary to some prejudices, they are quite willing to work. One in three refugees has a job that is subject to social insurance contributions, according to the employment agency’s calculations

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