They are now missing everywhere in Germany: skilled workers. The shortage of specialist staff has spread like wildfire through economic sectors and regions. However, a current analysis now shows that nine occupational fields have bucked the trend. And they are relevant to face the problems of the future.

Most young people in Germany do not want to start an apprenticeship after school. A trend that has fueled the shortage of skilled workers for years. Challenges such as ecological, digital and demographic change are also accompanied by increased shortages and aggravate the situation. Hardly any company in Germany is spared. But there is another way, shows a current analysis of the German Economic Institute (IW) on the training market.

Accordingly, there are still professions in this country that are particularly popular and have enjoyed brisk demand for years. A total of nine occupational fields are moving against the trend. What do they have in common? They are relevant for overcoming urgent future problems such as climate change, mobility transition or housing construction. According to the authors of the study, Helen Hickmann, Lydia Malin and Paula Risius, these are the professional fields that are “meaningful and crisis-proof” and also offer job security and good earning potential. Our graphic shows the occupational fields in which the demand for training places has been rising continuously for several years.

Overall, however, the demand for dual training places has fallen over the past ten years. In 2011 (just under 600,000 training places), the demand was just under 642,000. Five years later, demand dropped to around 600,000. This downward trend was exacerbated by the corona pandemic. In 2021 (almost 536,000 training places), demand was only around 541,000. The authors conclude: “Thus, the demand from young people who are looking for a training place has fallen significantly more than the number of training places available in the period under review.”

The causes of the decrease in demand:

The causes identified by the scientists lead to an increase in the number of first-year students. Instead, the demand for training places is tending to continue to decline, “even if more and more high school graduates are starting an apprenticeship”.

While the shortage of skilled workers will reach a record high in Germany in 2022, the skilled trades and construction trades in particular are enjoying a steady demand for training places. These are sectors that are already severely affected by the shortage of skilled workers.

The strongest effect in terms of percentage increase compared to the base year 2016 can be seen among the drivers of earthmoving and related machines. This strong effect is also related to the fact that there is rather low demand here in absolute terms. Smaller changes therefore show larger effects in the display.

The study authors also show that the professional fields are future-oriented. “For example, to achieve the climate targets, roofers are needed to install solar panels, plumbing, heating and air conditioning specialists to install heat pumps […].”

The reason for the increased demand: