Lufthansa’s cabin broadcast announcement (from Frankfurt to Barcelona):
”As you know, the situation is tense and we have to wait for people to carry our luggage, so the flight will also be delayed.”
Announcement from the restaurant at the campsite in Dinkelsbühl:
” The restaurant is open from 17:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. Due to staff shortages, we cannot stay open longer.”
Announcement 2022 from Pattin Town:
“Dear visitors and friends, it is a pity that this summer, our popular The swimming pool had to remain closed.”
Email to parents from the Nursery School “Solar Mountain” in Berlin:
“We regret to inform you that, due to an unexpected loss of personnel, we are now unable to offer the previously verbally promised degrees.”
Germany According to data from the Federal Labor Office, in the summer of 2022, 148 industries in Germany are in urgent need of labor, and another 122 industries are at risk of shortages, and the situation is still increasing. It takes on average about eight months for a nursing home to hire a caregiver, about seven months for a factory to find a new air-conditioning technician, more than six months to hire a civil engineer and more than five months for an aerospace engineer.
Germany used to be lauded for being productive, but now it’s all messed up. Due to the lack of manpower to maintain operations, many parts of Germany have been shut down, and the number of job vacancies is unprecedented. The official figure is 1.74 million, and the actual figure may be higher.
There is not only an urgent need for high-level talents such as information technology architects and engineers, but also painters, bakers, packers, etc. And this is just the beginning. If more and more seniors retire in a few years, baby boomers gradually withdraw from working life, and fewer young people can fill the vacancies, the situation will be even worse. Experts estimate that by 2035 there will be at least around 7 million fewer people on the German labor market than today.
For years, many people thought that the warnings of “an imminent labor shortage” were just a moan in industrial society, after all, we never felt it in our daily lives. And now, everyone is confused: where is the much-needed labor force in all walks of life? Where do people who were carrying luggage at the airport or serving as waiters at restaurants before the outbreak make their money now?
In July 2022, there were 7,200 vacancies at German airports. Source: German Institute for Economic Research.
“A lot of my colleagues feel like slaves,” said Las Lope, the union council representative .
| High pressure in the labor market |
Hamburg Airport, Terminal 1. There were long queues at security and the anger of travelers escalated. A man with sweaty underarms was yelling at a female staff member, and words like “nonsense” and “crap” resounded through the departure lounge – the flight to his holiday destination was canceled.
Going down one floor, you can see that the luggage has finally arrived. Their owners landed hours ago, but the luggage is now belatedly arriving on another plane, and it will be days or even weeks before they reach the passengers. Whether on social networks or in the tabloids, there is anger. “You ruined our holiday!” “Bild” issued such a cry.
Those who want to travel by air in the summer of 2022 need strong nerves and good physical condition, willing to wait in long queues for hours, and be able to endure flight cancellations. Lufthansa has canceled thousands of flights due to massive shortages of air and ground staff, and the travel season has only just begun.
Over the years, Germans have become accustomed to reaching almost every island and country in the world without a hitch. If you book early, a short holiday in Barcelona can hardly cost more than a train from Berlin to Bavaria. Traveling seems cheap and hassle-free, provided you get on a plane, of course. And those who contributed to it were people like Paul Laslope.
Lasslope, 57, is a seasoned chef who has worked at Frankfurt Airport for nearly 40 years. In 1982 he started working for the then Lufthansa catering subsidiary. He and his colleagues are known as “little bakers”, which is also a sign of their low social class, but before they were at least earning enough for Laszlope to buy a set of gardens in the Taunus mountains. house.
Back then, airports weren’t “profit machines,” and today’s airport operators are doing everything they can to keep employees down. For airlines to make money, they must keep their planes in the sky as often as possible, and every minute it sits on the ground burns money, which is why some airlines arrange planes just 25 minutes into the ground to carry new passengers. Lasslope and colleagues must race against time when it comes to getting food to the plane. As soon as the doors of the plane are opened, a signal lights up on the driver’s mobile phone. “A lot of drivers drive across the tarmac so quickly that they can complete the task in time,” Laslop said. However, according to the regulations, the speed cannot exceed 30 kilometers per hour, and drivers who are caught driving too fast will have their subsidies cut. Airport jobs used to be desirable, but now it’s just a kerosene-smelling work hell. “Many of my colleagues feel like slaves,” says Lasslope.
According to an analysis by the German Institute for Economic Research, in the summer of 2022, the German aviation industry will lack 7,200 employees. An important reason is that increasingly Few are willing to endure worsening working conditions and the terrifying stress that comes with it. Previously, the new crown epidemic intensified staff reductions, with 4,000 layoffs at Frankfurt Airport and the absence of employee shift subsidies. While Lasslop and his colleagues had to do part-time jobs to support the family, such as tidying shelves, driving trucks or delivering couriers, many simply switched jobs.
Aviation isn’t the only industry that maximizes profits at the expense of employees. Nursing, transportation, and others follow the same logic. Some employees can’t handle the pressure and choose to quit, leaving the job vacant, and other employees become more stressed because of this, and so on.
| Out of favor dual-track vocational education |
Matthias Sean wants to renovate his old house, and he plans to install exterior wall insulation, heat pump and rooftop solar equipment in turn. “We hope to be self-sufficient in electricity and hot water in half a year,” Sean said in March 2022. He hoped to complete it in the winter of that year, but in fact, it did not start until July because there were too few craftsmen available.
At that time, a small company nearby said that it could help him improve the thermal insulation performance of the outer wall with a special technology by the end of summer, but for this, a professional scaffolding worker was needed, and this worker was as poor as the paint worker. found in time. Heating companies that can help install heat pumps are completely out of touch. “Some companies don’t even answer the phone,” Sean said.
It is precisely in areas that require rapid development to meet future challenges, such as the energy transition, digitization and housing construction, that Germany has stalled. The energy transition has become a goal that requires patience, as electricians, mechanics, energy consultants and painters are all in short supply, as are professionals in photovoltaics, ventilation systems and dark wiring boxes.
The German government says that by 2030, 6 million heat pumps will be in operation. For this kind of big talk, the construction experts are about to laugh out loud. The German Association of Sanitary, Heating and Air-Conditioning Centres estimates that about 60,000 fitters are needed to reach this goal. The German government said it would fund the training, but the move was completely unrealistic: because of the volume of orders, the company simply wouldn’t allow employees to take the time to attend seminars.
According to statistics, there is a labor gap of 250,000 in the German handicraft industry, and the employees are older than average. In 2020, more than 44% of all construction technology-related workers, such as plumbing, plumbing and heating workers, will be over 50 years old, and even more than 47% of high-rise and underground building technology workers.
And this shortage will be further exacerbated, as fewer secondary school graduates are opting for dual vocational education, a system Germany is proud of. “More and more young people are deciding to go to university,” said Helmut Brahmann, general director of the Association of Sanitary, Heating and Air-Conditioning Centres. German politics has been preaching since the 1970s that every child has the opportunity to take the high school graduation exam and that going to university ensures a better life for them. “But everyone who sees the density of luxury cars in the parking lot at the handicraft conference venue will not say that.” A painting engineer in Berlin joked.
In 2030, the federal, state and townships will lack 1 million professional and technical personnel. Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mayor Pete Osten Riedel “Industrial companies poach all the labor. People don’t need training, they just work shifts at the machines and get paid well.”
German dual-track vocational education is regarded as a model worth learning abroad, but it no longer enjoys a good reputation at home. In recent years, the proportion of secondary school students opting for vocational education has declined. Hans Wursev, president of the German Handicrafts Association, once said that in general, vocational education earns less social respect than university education, and choosing craft training may be ridiculed.
| Talent poached by industry |
The town of Peiting is located 70 kilometers southwest of Munich on the way into the Alps. The community outdoor pool in town is quiet and has no guests. It’s been closed for weeks for one reason: a lack of swim instructors and lifeguards. In fact, not only here, but many towns and villages in Germany have a shortage of talents in the public service sector.
In June 2022, Patin’s unemployment rate is 2.5%, which is close to full employment. “Our local industrial companies have poached all the labor,” said Pete Osten Riedel, mayor since 2020. “People don’t need training, they just work shifts at the machines and get paid well.” Auto parts suppliers and packaging companies give significantly more than a mayor can spend on public services, as do private luxury spas in front of the Alps.
The town of Patin isn’t just looking for swim lifeguards, but educators, child care workers, administrative assistants, and more. In Germany, where 5 million people work in the public service, demand for nursery care, epidemic prevention, etc. has risen in recent years. Currently, Germany’s public service lacks 450,000 skilled workers because the country is less able to pay than employers in the economy. It is estimated that by 2030, the public service sector could be short of 1 million skilled professionals, more than many industries. Whether the public service will be able to fulfill its core mission in the future will also be a question. For example, there is a shortage of doctors in the health sector, and parents in big cities like Stuttgart and Berlin are desperately looking for nurseries that can take their children. In 2021, Germany will be short of about 173,000 educators, according to data provided by the German service industry union. Due to the shortage of staff, some nurseries in Berlin have even cut the number of pre-booked children.
| Anxiety caused by the epidemic |
Otmar Dillamar and Benjamin Arndt, who run a campground in Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, are worrying about their new restaurant, which is supposed to be a magnet for campers and short-term tourists. But only if they can find a waiter.
On the first day the restaurant opened, it was full of customers, but the waiters only had two temporary workers. “I was still making meatloaf until 3:30 in the morning,” says Arndt, an electrical engineer and culinary lover. There isn’t a full-time waiter here. In theory, restaurants could provide ten full-time jobs, Dillamar said, but the problem is they need seasonal workers, who lose their jobs in the winter, making the job less attractive. Temps can help, too, but even temps are hard to come by now because no one knows if a new wave of COVID-19 will close restaurants again. Few industries are as unsettling as the restaurant industry. In 2021, the restaurant industry will be closed for months, and many people will lose their jobs, especially temporary workers.
Some see the crisis as an opportunity to switch careers. For the catering industry, high turnover rate is a tradition. For example, in Berlin, 30% of employees in the catering industry change jobs within a year, and even half of them are short-term workers. And, normally, that’s not a problem, as new people will fill the vacancy soon.
However, amid the epidemic, the demand for employees in supermarkets and express delivery services is higher than before, and the retail industry has poached a large number of restaurant waiters, resulting in 45,000 vacancies. The market’s reaction was also typical: waiter wages rose to unprecedented heights almost everywhere. The increase was in the double digits, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association said. Wages for waiters climbed 30 percent in some areas, but remained relatively low overall. In a few years, with the onslaught of a demographic crisis, hiring will become more difficult. Unlike industry and banking, it is difficult for waiters to be replaced by robots, and digitalization has almost no impact on this. Some restaurants have adopted robot waiters, but most customers still want to be served with a smile by a human being.
For now, it’s those longtime campers who are saving Dillamar and Arndt. They can’t stand the restaurant closing again, and some help clear the table, wash the dishes, serve beer or fries. Now, at least Friday and Saturday, restaurants are always open. Dillamar and Arndt are still looking for people to try and keep their restaurant afloat.
61.4% of catering companies are in urgent need of labor. Source: German Federal Association of Hotel and Restaurant Industry. Campground operators Dillamar and Arndt “Hell is coming.”
| Difficult to attract immigrants |
All experts agree that conditions on the German labor market will soon deteriorate sharply. It is estimated that from 2025, there will be 400,000 to 500,000 more baby boomers disappearing from the labor force each year than young people who can fill the job vacancies. The Internet generation (those born between 1995 and 2009) is no longer willing to work hard and instead pursue a healthy work-life balance.
To close this labor gap, unless more unemployed can be re-educated and return to work; seniors can delay retirement, at least a few more years if they feel they are healthy enough; parents have peace of mind Childcare channels can extend working hours; more corporate managers are willing to implement flexible working systems and home office models.
If the employment rate of middle-aged women, the elderly and foreigners in Germany continues to rise, it means an increase of about 2.7 million workers by 2035, but even then there will be more than 4 million vacancies. Therefore, Germany must admit new immigrants. Experts estimate that at least 400,000 people come to Germany each year to balance the shrinking workforce. However, Germany has so far struggled to attract and retain foreign labor. During the European debt crisis, groups of young Spaniards and Greeks came to Germany to find work, but only a few of them chose to stay long-term, most of them went back after a few months, because the language was too difficult and the weather in Germany seemed Too cold and too weak. To this day, foreign interest in Germany is also limited. In 2021, Germany will attract only 3,200 foreign professionals, according to official figures from the German Federal Labour Office.
Most of them are from the nursing profession, such as Beatlitz Cruz. Cruz arrived in Berlin with other young people from the Republic of El Salvador after an 18-hour flight on a cold night in October 2020. Next, they will take part in training to become professional nurses in Wittenberg county in southeastern Saskatchewan. Their employers—several nursing homes, hospitals and nursing services—rented a bus to pick up the travelers from the airport. The average age of residents in Wittenberg County is the tenth highest in Germany at 49.8 years, which is why caregivers like Cruz are desperately needed.
218,000 nursing staff do not have German citizenship. Source: German Federal Labour Office. Nursing Apprentice Cruz
Currently, 100 able-bodied German residents need to feed 44 elderly people over the age of 67, and it is expected that by 2025 they will have to feed more than 70. The labour market in southern Saskatchewan is empty, especially in nursing, with adult children unable to find caregivers for their parents in need and often having to give up their jobs, exacerbating staffing shortages in many industries.
For Cruz, Wittenberg’s new life was lonely: first in quarantine for 14 days, and when they were finally able to leave their homes, Germany began a months-long lockdown, with cafes and cafes. Sports halls are closed, welcome celebrations cancelled, and there is no chance for social integration. To this day, they still have little contact with the locals in Wittenberg, and the German pronunciation of “hard” is regarded as a hindrance by them.
And they still work at the Leier Neuberger Aged Care Centre, and even envision a future here, thanks to social educator Silvana Schubert-Huth. “Sometimes I feel like for some people I’m a mother or a sister,” says Schubert-Huth, 40.
Schubert-Huth’s work is based on a lesson the Federal Labour Office has learned from past mistakes: it is not enough to bring in skilled professionals from abroad, but also to help them integrate into German society, not to leave them to fend for themselves extinguish.
Schubert-Huth was in charge of answering all questions for these distant visitors, such as: Where can I buy train tickets? If you have medical insurance, do you really need to give cash when you go to the doctor? “For us, these questions are simple, but for Salvadorans, it’s a completely foreign world,” she said.
However, can these young people really stay? Perhaps another country will soon appear that appeals to them more. International talent competition is fierce. Cruz wanted to go to university to study medicine, and others wanted to go back to El Salvador.
”If we don’t want to use nursing robots within five years, then the domestic labor force alone will not be able to meet the demand,” said a leader of the Leier Neuberger Elderly Care Center. How to win the labor force in the international market is still a problem. problem.