{Replica} VDI again predicts a shortage of skilled workers: painting by numbers

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It has been a good month since DIW labor market researcher Karl Brenke started the discussion about the Skills shortage lifted to a more factual level - at least one could have thought so. Because shortly before the turn of the year, the VDI returns - with the usual thesis! Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

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Here writes for you:


Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.


What do the VDI say?

The Association of German Engineers made it clear again in a press release that in Germany in the near future continues to be expected with a strong shortage of skilled workers. Document: The number of vacancies in November 2010, incidentally contradict those Karl Brenkes blatantly.

It works a little for me like: “What do I care about the statistics from last month. We'll get him the shortage of skilled workers - but now really! ” In detail, it reads like this:

Even in November 2010, the shortage of engineers further aggravated. According to the VDI / IW engineer monitor, some 47.000 engineers were missing. The increase of just under eight percent compared to the previous month resulted in part from the increase in vacancies on 70.000. At the same time, engineering unemployment fell again slightly in November by two percent on 23.600. 15.800 and thus the most vacancies were again in Baden-Württemberg, followed by 13.600 vacancies in North Rhine-Westphalia and almost 10.000 in Bavaria. With 24.500 jobs, the largest number of job vacancies was announced again for mechanical and automotive engineers, for electrical engineers 15.700 and for civil engineers 12.300. For the profession of electrical engineers this means an increase of almost 5 percent compared to October 2010, compared to the same month last year even by 41,4 percent.

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Where do the figures come from?

Incidentally, the figures for this report are calculated by the Institute for German Business. At Karl Brenke, the numbers look completely different - for example, the machine and vehicle construction engineers mentioned by the VDI:

Here, in October 2010, Brenke could only make 3.366 vacancies. And 2008, before the economic crisis it was also only 5.018 (see page 7 in the study).

Can this be calculated?

As this strong discrepancy comes to explain brand expert Brenke also right himself - namely on page 4 his study (which is here as PDF) - namely, on the one hand from a calculation error and, secondly, because not all registered vacancies actually are free:

The Institute of German Business (IW) has tried to use a combination of business surveys and data from the Federal Employment Agency to capture the supply and demand of engineers, for example. So it is on the basis of a relatively small sample raised, how many Company to report their vacancies for engineers to the Federal Employment Agency. On this basis, a factor is calculated which extrapolates the number of vacancies reported at the employment service to reflect the total demand for engineers. Finally, the factor seven was used - the number of open engineering positions at the Federal Agency was multiplied by seven.

What is the problem?

Karl Brenke then explains why the process is problematic:

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It is, however, not permissible to simply calculate the vacancies using a multiplier. In the economy as a whole, only those vacancies are relevant for the measurement of a specialist need which arise when a company wants to increase its staff or because employees are to leave and be replaced. However, vacancies are often only attributable to changes in the company. For example, an employee who is still working in the company has announced a change in employment and has thus triggered a vacancy notice. This employee is now applying to a job posting at another employer, which has been switched because an employee wants to change his or her job. Several vacancies have been created in this way, but no additional workplace and not even a vacancy due to the departure of an employee from the working life.


I would like to see that VDI and IW, if they differ from one another, are concerned with Brenkes' study critically and discuss their theses. The study of the DIW to tozeken and to continue as simple as before, has little transparency and credible. An open discussion would be more conducive to the topic!

Or do you think that this short contribution with a few loosely dropped examples can invalidate a whole study? I think this is a little lean and little meaningful. The Institute for German Business and the VDI is apparently of a different opinion.

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  1. damaged

    Hello Simone,

    I think it would be time for a reflection of the news:

    After the Spiegel FINALLY this reported:
    “Skilled Worker Shortage - Who's Afraid of the Killer Statistics?”

    "Nobody needs the engineer anymore"

    Reported his economic wing once again:
    "And here lies the biggest problem of the shortage of skilled workers: As many entrepreneurs and personnel consultants are currently complaining about, companies do not suffer from too few applicants for their positions, but lack of good, suitable candidates - the shortage of skilled workers is of a qualitative nature."

    Once again, the perverse PR carousel is turning, this time with a ridiculously windy twist.

    Comment 15: I would LOVE to write something on the entire topic, but I don't have the time for really competent research. In addition, the topic of the different skilled workers would not be for me, I am a researcher and have nothing to do with production, even with development (where the main part of the engineers work) and only few points of intersection with it ...

  2. Simone Janson

    Hello My,
    apart from the fact that I understand their displeasure very well:
    This is the most creative comment I have ever received! What a cool idea! I'll make my own posting!

  3. That's me

    With messages like this one was promised to me here and after four years of hard study and three-year "transitional unemployment" I have to admit that contributions like this undercut the situation far. As a graduate industrial engineer (manufacturing technology, FH) I have even with these exploiters no chance of hiring. So when I look at messages like I feel like and and I can

  4. Simone Janson

    Hello “injured party”, what I would find really interesting: This distinction between the various professionals. In the general discourse, a lot of things are lumped together that don't belong together, and this leads to a series of misjudgments.

    Couldn't you write something about it? Because for that you have to be very deep into the topic - I couldn't work that deep due to lack of time (currently writing a book). But ME needs a differentiation. And there is far too little differentiation.

    Here you can also write an article by Anonymous. Or just by E-Mai. But also with name and photo.

  5. damaged

    I am rather surprised at how smooth and professional the lobbying is. I probably read too much Spiegel and similar publications, but I can already see from the first approaches of articles (which are now quickly becoming series) where the wind is blowing long before the “main articles” that are supposed to legitimize politics are published. The concept for “securing skilled workers”, which was published incredibly quickly, speaks volumes, I have serious fears.

    Blog contributions were already planned by me on the blog of a friend, but then never came about. I think solid research from professionals are more meaningful than my opinion. But let's look, I need to communicate.

    By the way, when I look at your IT staff article, I also notice that one should differentiate between the “skilled workers” that I am looking for, that is, to use the designation skilled worker or engineer more clearly. For me, a web server or SAP module programmer is not an engineer or a computer scientist, just like a cutting machine operator is not a mechanical engineer who has developed the CNC milling machine (and a business graduate is not at the checkout at Karstadt either). It would be sad if you needed a computer scientist for such work, which also devalues ​​the appropriate training occupations. And when it comes to the shortage of skilled workers, the press is currently mainly talking about electrical engineers like me. I also specialize in ICT, but I would NOT start out as an IT expert according to the type of reading. B. Name your article.

  6. damaged

    There is a new one from the Special Forces Bullshitbingo (Heise-Link, since the message is quite clear there):


    @Simone, you did not even want to research the topic, including discussion with the DIW? That would fit now.

    Bottom line: cheap workers will be attracted from abroad, but they will be immediately left behind (see “Computer Indians” who like to go back to India or simply move on to the USA ...), but at the time the domestic workers were so good pressured that engineering salaries STILL fall further. According to Brüderle, this A…., We MINT'ers didn't earn more than 40000 € anyway (after 5 years of work, we'd also like 42000 €). We are not lawyers whose importance justifies the exorbitant fee regulation ...

    • Simone Janson

      Hi Damaged, when I yesterday this article published, I have already counted with a corresponding comment.

      Now, I find the exciting thrust of the federal government now again not so exciting: It is nothing really new, that one holds on the specialist power, was to be expected. Now, wait and see what's going on.

      But how about if you opened a blog on the topic yourself - I would then link it - or even write a guest post here in the blog =

      Simone Janson

  7. damaged

    For the sake of completeness:


    Now the temporary workers crawl out of the holes and do what many (including me) have already expected: they will try to avoid all sensible hurdles and flood the German labor market with low-cost jobs. Thanks to government this is possible without problems.

    And the bridge to the topic: all temporary employment engineers, engineering service providers and “service / consulting” companies put together, the engineers represent the largest or at least one of the largest groups of temporary workers in Germany. Unfortunately ...

  8. Simone Janson

    Hi Damaged, this is interesting, thank you! Since I will ask times with the left. Please be patient!

  9. damaged

    There is something "new" about the shortage of skilled workers:

    Incidentally, the left has been dealing with the issue of skilled labor for years, always with the same result: it does not exist. Incidentally, that is usually the government's RESPONSE to requests from the left for reliable figures and sources on the shortage of skilled workers. For over a year the left have been very active in parliament, and again: the OFFICIAL ANSWER from the government: “We can't tell you where the shortage of skilled workers is either”. I thank the government for such a good job.

  10. Simone Janson

    Update: Since there is currently nothing to report on the topic, and since I am admittedly also busy with other things, I will pick up on the subject of shortage of skilled workers at a later date with a retrospective stocktaking and also closer to the above-discussed monthly report of the VDI from December 2010. Meanwhile, I ask for patience: Who wants to download the questionable monthly report and make himself a picture, he finds no more underneath the original address.
    However, the VDI has taken the criticism to heart and revised the download page - so just search.

  11. Simone Janson

    @ Damaged then I'm happy that I could help.
    Yes, this is how a blog works: The articles are sorted chronologically, older articles are retained and are not deleted or improved, which ensures transparency. If the numbers there are different from those in the newer articles, it is probably because the newer numbers have only been known since mid-November - we discussed the previous lack of reliable studies often enough on the blog in the months before.
    I am also pleased that you are concerned about the state of journalism in Germany: Perhaps you have as someone who is obviously worthy of critical journalism also lays out ideas for funding? Ulrike Langer's suggestion on this matter has already been linked to elsewhere:

    @dob: Thank you for your very differentiated approach to the topic. I'll take up the topic again in January - at the moment it's Christmas break in Germany anyway, and I'll be busy with a new book until mid-January - unfortunately I can't make a living from the blog ;-)

  12. dob

    On the subject of 'job changers', I would like to add that I find the IW / VDI point of view quite plausible here. But it is idealized because at no point in time more job postings than immediately! vacancies exist. This applies to their entire labor market model and would even make sense if one were to admit that the figures derived from this do not apply absolutely, but can only show trends.
    With the so-called “engineering gap” of the VDI, it is immediately noticeable that they tried very hard to find a multiplier on the demand side ('seven'), while on the supply side they steadfastly count on 'one'. According to the definition, the offer is made by all jobseekers! Engineers, i.e. unemployed + graduates (who do not yet have any ALV entitlements) + freelancers without employment (who often do not pay into the ALV in order to remain independent of the employment agency) + Ings slipped in Hartz IV. (how uncomfortable!).
    Not only in the Ingeneurmonitor itself I find no word to this, also not in the associated method report.

  13. damaged

    @Simone. Nice that my words do not remain hidden.

    I see how differentiated you are dealing with the topic meanwhile, please do not misunderstand but I must point to something if I have always been accused of polemics:

    In some (one?) Of your older articles TODAY it says that the alleged shortage of skilled workers would at least ALSO come about through retirement (more Ingi pensioners than graduates). Now even the IW study says that this would not be the case (too lazy to look but have something in mind with 36000 retirees versus 47000 graduates). Even according to this study (!), A deficiency only arises from 34000 “new” engineering positions falling from the sky.

    That means, Simone, either you had another study on hand when writing the article (and I would like to see it) or you have done what many journalists do today: interpreted cheap PR material without research and converted it into an article. And against this type of power PR I use polemics - quite blatant, but backed up with solid arguments. Unfortunately, suit-and-suitcase lies are more likely to prevail than evil, evil irony ...

  14. Simone Janson

    Hello Dob,
    You are right, I overlooked the “Appendix” because it was not clearly identified as further material - so much for the topic of user usability :-) But luckily, I have attentive readers like you, thank you very much.
    And you are right, the first time I read it, I noticed a few points of criticism - I will read and comment on that in between the years.
    Sometimes happy holidays!
    Simone Janson

  15. dob

    Hello Mrs. Janson,
    as an engineer, I am very pleased that you will continue to be on the ball with this subject and will place greater trust in the numerous readers' reports on the web and a critical study than those of employer-oriented institutions.
    But it almost seems to me that you have overlooked the more detailed statement of the IW on the DIW study, to which a link under your link 'this short article' leads.
    Of course, this opinion does not persuade me, although (or just because) a whole lot of figures are being thrown around, which are, in stark contrast, my own experiences on the labor market.
    The IW tries (in point 6) to explain why its 'counting method' is still correct in the event of a change of company. This is puzzling to me, because assuming that no new positions were created, with this perspective one would still have regularly advertised 'open' positions.
    Almost cynically, I also find point 3, in which a rising wage leap from Ings. to low qualified personnel (personal note: whose wages were pushed even more).
    Similarly, point 1, which states that 60% of all Ings are employed in service industries. Is it just behind the fact that the industry is your Ings. primarily concerned about personnel services.

  16. Simone Janson

    I had already missed you and I am delighted that you will stay with us as a commentator - mainly because of the haunting imagery of your choice of words.
    Purely stylistically, I find their comparison so successful that I have to twitter.
    Thank you!

    In the matter I still prefer to keep to the facts!
    The question of the “different opinion” was of a rhetorical nature and related to the fact that a few examples in a press release tried to invalidate an entire study.

    Despite all the annoyance nice holidays

  17. damaged

    IW and VDI do not disagree, as criminal attempts are being made to produce young heating material. We do not talk here of teleshopping, which sells me Ramschfitnessgeräte for 60 €. For example, For example, had ruined my life with this perverted, man-despised occupation, for when I began to study, the engineers were racing on the radio. Ultimately, Germany will lose the mass of good, motivated engineers and these will be replaced by a huge mass of cheap, dissatisfied engineering workers.

    I dare to say the engineers are the Chinese brickwork workers among the academics, incredible stress and hopelessness with steadily falling salaries.

  18. Simone Janson

    Frisch blogged: Jetzt however! - VDI prognosticates again professional strength: painting by numbers

  19. Competencepartner

    But now! - VDI predicts a shortage of skilled workers again: Painting by numbers: A good month is ...

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