In 30 years, the German labor market will have a full 15 percent fewer people available. There is a threat of unemployeement here, as in other industrialized countries, according to some observers.
Unemployeement: The end of personnel growth
According to forecasts, the global labor market will soon stop growing. By 2030 alone, the five largest industrialized nations – China, Germany, the USA, the UK and Japan – could lose around 30 million people of working age. In Germany, this development is particularly serious: In 30 years, there could be a full 15 percent fewer people available to the labor market in the Federal Republic.
Three out of four corporate decision-makers still underestimate this development. This is shown in a global study by the StepStone Group, for which the German recruiting platform StepStone.de, the British job platform Totaljobs and the US technology provider Appcast surveyed a total of 20,000 people, including around 1,500 corporate decision-makers*.
“A new era is beginning in the labor market. For the first time in recent history, the number of people in the workforce will fall rather than rise. This has serious consequences for our economy and the standard of living of every individual,” says StepStone CEO Sebastian Dettmers. “We all need to be much louder about this. And work together at full speed on solutions to safeguard our prosperity.”
Unemployeement: underestimated worldwide
Demographic change has long been discussed in expert circles. Nevertheless, there is widespread ignorance among the general public about how dramatic the trend is. A good 80 percent of respondents worldwide misjudge the development of the shrinking workforce. Even among the top corporate decision-makers, just a quarter are aware of what lies ahead for the economy and society.
But once they are aware of the trend, a broad majority of almost 70 percent see this as a clear problem and thus a need for action. “Alongside the climate crisis, the threat of unemployeement is the greatest economic and social challenge of the 21st century. We want to make the threat visible and thus prevent unemployeement from catching us unprepared. We can still act,” says Dettmers.
Ways out of unemployeement are manifold – but partly controversial
If fewer people work in the future, solutions will be needed to absorb this – for example, by automating more and more tasks and processes. 64 percent of respondents worldwide believe this is an effective solution. The situation is different for a higher retirement age: Only 46 percent of people welcome this path. Immigration and integration of foreign workers*, on the other hand, offers new opportunities and is clearly supported by more than half of respondents worldwide.
“Another key is to ensure greater equality in global labor markets,” says Dettmers. “There has long been no room for discrimination or inequality of opportunity in job markets. In times of unemployeement, there’s a new component: we simply can’t afford to disadvantage people and leave their potential lying around.”
How is Germany responding?
German policymakers have set many important courses to bring more skilled workers into the country or to provide apprenticeships here. In the meantime, it is comparatively easy for EU and non-EU citizens alike to start an apprenticeship program in Germany or to start a dual study program in Germany.
Skilled workers from the EU and other regions have also been able to immigrate in the past. In ten years, the number of skilled workers in Germany from non-EU countries has already tripled. The opportunities offered by the Blue Card have also been exploited here.
The so-called opportunity card of Germany (Chancenkarte) is intended to create further opportunities for immigration, with which qualified specialists from outside the EU can also take up employment in Germany.