The labor market is sending more confusing signals than ever before: companies are warning of waves of layoffs, but on the other hand the number of job advertisements remains at a record level. Where the chances of top jobs are particularly good – and where not.

Germany slides into recession. This usually does not bode well for the job market. Some listed companies have already announced that they will hire fewer staff or even lay off employees. And medium-sized companies are also reacting to the increased energy prices with job cuts.

According to a survey by the Ifo Institute on behalf of the Foundation for Family Businesses, 25 percent of the more than 1,000 companies surveyed said they were planning to cut jobs in Germany. Only 14 percent said so in April. The Ifo employment barometer falls in October to its lowest level since April 2021.

But what is really in store for us? “We are currently seeing a slight decline in the total number of jobs in Germany, but still at a comparatively high level,” says Annina Hering, Hiring Lab economist at the job platform Indeed. “We assume that the labor market will prove to be robust and resilient.” Accordingly, most of the numbers relating to jobs are currently looking very good, at least for those who have completed their training.

The Institute for Labor Market and Occupational Research (IAB) measured a record number of vacancies for the third quarter of 2022: 1.93 million. With 2.4 million unemployed, there are “only” 120 unemployed for every 100 vacancies. For comparison: in 2005 this value was 1000 – and those were not bad economic times either. “Compared to the past, the situation on the job market has improved significantly and difficulties in recruiting staff are more likely in almost all areas today,” says Alexander Kubis from the IAB.

There are only a few exceptions: Delivery services like Gorillas, for example, are stepping on the brakes, and with some other digital business models that have grown all too quickly in lockdown times, operators are finding that the market in normal phases may be too small for so many providers is. The bottom line is: “The labor market is still at a record level. Compared to the period before Corona, we are seeing over 50 percent more job advertisements,” says Tobias Zimmermann from the Stepstone recruiting platform.

The labor market expert expects that “in the medium and long term, unemployment will remain the greatest challenge for companies”. Employees are sometimes even hired if they currently have no clear task and there is no specific job advertisement, but the application is so convincing that you don’t want to let them go.

More and more trained young professionals are not limited to one area – especially engineers. One example where they find accommodation is in banks: in the past, the paths here were clearly laid out, but today trained physicists, industrial engineers and other career changers find accommodation in the high-rise buildings of the financial institutes – and with a kiss on the hand. Such branch changes are particularly common among IT professionals. The field of activity remains an employee market – but you have to take a close look here.

Cybersecurity professionals remain in high demand, while some other areas are declining somewhat, albeit at a high level. More and more organizations have turned necessity into a virtue and built up their own expertise instead of looking on the market. Those who advertise jobs “often receive far fewer suitable applications than before,” sums up Alexander Kubis. The search for personnel then takes correspondingly longer and success “is increasingly associated with compromises for the company”.

A look at sectors reveals that education and trades have golden ground – a trend that is not likely to go away any time soon. According to Stepstone data, the number of job advertisements more than doubled in September compared to the same month last year: up 130 percent in education and up 105 percent in skilled trades. Things are still looking very good in the construction industry – plus 77 percent. While the high demand in the education sector is considered to be secure in the long term, it does not have to stay that way when it comes to real estate.

There is also high demand in the logistics industry, where 74 percent more jobs are being advertised than in 2021. Mechanical engineering has placed 53 percent more advertisements. In the gastronomy and hotel industry it is 44 percent, in health care 35 percent. Doctors in rural areas and, in many places, specialist staff in the care of the elderly and the sick are in demand here. “Our aging society will lead to a further increase in demand here in the coming years,” predicts Alexander Kubis from the IAB.

Those who can contribute something to the topic of sustainability have good chances – a trend in most companies that will increase in the coming years and requires people with the appropriate knowledge. The range is huge: from the craftsman who waits for heat pumps to the auditor who can certify an ESG balance sheet.

Another big trend is everything to do with HR work: Specialists in employer branding, for example, are being sought so that companies are more visible on the job market. Likewise experts for software and other IT solutions in HR. When it comes to specific professions, the experts at Indeed see a few supposedly exotic ones high up on the list of most in-demand positions, in addition to the ones mentioned: veterinarians, for example, gardeners, drivers, foresters, hairdressers, beauticians or psychologists.

Even if the job market currently offers many opportunities: According to the IAB, it is also true that a quarter of a million more people could have a job in Germany in 2023 if Putin had not attacked Ukraine with all the consequences. This statistical figure is even stronger when the researchers extrapolate to 2024: Then there could have been 660,000 more workers than without the war.

The German economy is expecting a dark winter and a difficult year in 2023. On Wednesday, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) cited the energy price crisis, high inflation and the gloomy global economy as the reasons.

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The article “These sectors urgently need employees” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.