Germany should be getting ready for a dramatic shortage of manpower, experts have warned.
The Institute of the German Economy (Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft, IW) expects a glaring shortage of workers in the German economy in the coming years. By 2031, there would be a total shortage of five million workers, several newspapers reported recently, citing IW forecasts.
One of the reasons given for this trend is the fact that between 300,000 and 700,000 more people are likely to retire each year in the coming years than enter the labour market. “We are now experiencing a staff shortage that will become much more severe,” IW labour market expert Holger Schäfer told the newspaper “Bild”.
This development can hardly be compensated for, the experts say. “We have to be prepared for the shortage to get much worse. The staff shortage could dominate our lives,” said Schäfer.
Sustained shortage of workers would mean that restaurants would close earlier due to a lack of cooks and waiters, and shops would open for shorter periods because of a lack of staff.
Schäfer said immigration could mitigate the negative demographic development but could not stop it. A new law allowing for the immigration of skilled workers went into effect in March 2020 but due to the pandemic it has not had any noticeable effect on the job market.