Employer branding meets skills shortage: Problems homemade?

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The ghost shortage of skilled labor is going around. Allegedly missing for all technical professionals. Not true, say a number of headhunters and HR experts who are having problems with the Company and employers themselves. Who is right? Employer branding meets skills shortage: Problems homemade? lead-digital1

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Are the Company blame yourself?


Martin Gaedt's book "Myth Skilled Shortage" provides for lively discussions. Because according to Gaedt could be "of a nationwide shortage of skilled labor no question." But why then politicians and business are constantly talking about the skills shortage as a key challenge for the future?

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For example, the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which announced to 2010 that almost 2015 percent of companies would expect a shortage of skilled workers until 50, as well as studies by Forsa or Kienbaum of 2012. So are the companies themselves to blame when they complain about a shortage of skilled workers?

Unserious calculating games


One thing is certain: according to the Association of German Engineers, there are even no engineers in Germany about 80.000. This number was calculated by the VDI by multiplying the number of jobs reported to the Federal Employment Agency by seven - because according to a survey by 2009 only every seventh job agency is reported.

Dr. Karl Brenke, research assistant at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, has recalculated the figures of the VDI and comes to a different conclusion, which he published in the weekly report 11 / 2012 of the DIW: "If one realistically calculates, one comes to approximately 20.000 Persons who retire from the working life of the engineers year after year. But at colleges we have graduate numbers ranging from 45.000 to 50.000. In other words, the graduates who are currently leaving the universities are more than adequate to meet the replacement needs and additional needs of engineers, "says Brenke in the DIW weekly report.

Why are companies just not finding the right people?


But apart from all the computing games, there are still companies that just can not find the right people. Headhunter Dirk Ohlmeier reports on a client who was looking in vain for six months for a new executive. The reasons were homemade: "When we presented the first qualified candidates, the feedback from the decision makers was weeks in coming, and the interview was delayed," says Ohlmeier. The candidates were otherwise oriented.

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On the other hand, experts also advise companies to look after their offspring in good time, that is, already during training and further education, so that the problem of the defect does not occur at all. Ultimately, you have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • So do we have no shortage at the end?
  • Where then comes the oblique picture of the skilled labor force?
  • And what can companies do that do not find suitable candidates?

Location disadvantages in the middle class


There are also disadvantages such as location factors. By contrast, the medium-sized fittings manufacturer Hansgrohe, for example, is well aware of its location disadvantage in Schiltach in the Black Forest: "Nearest major cities such as Stuttgart are about 90 minutes away. You have to come up with something to be attractive as an employer, "says HR Manager Thomas Egenter.

For example, Hansgrohe offers family-friendly home office workplaces and childcare during school holidays. In addition, advertisements and youtube videos feature testimonials. And the company immediately cares for the next generation: "Altogether we employ about 140 trainees, every year 40-50 new ones are added, and almost all are usually taken over," explains Egenter and adds: "So far, we could have any problems still cushion the employee search. "

Education and training is important


The recruitment agency YITP - Young IT Professionals in Heidelberg has recognized the importance of training and further education: It trains the right IT specialists themselves - in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency and companies, further education providers and universities in Germany and abroad , "We do not just want to convey, but see the long-term, strategic approach," explains managing director Axel Stadtelmeyer.

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"Often companies are looking for the perfect candidate. But headhunters often only postpone the problem, because the laboriously found employees are often quickly gone. Companies should therefore invest in the education of their employees and actively pursue talent management, so they do not even have to look for them. "

Problems are homemade?


Martin Gaedt, founder and CEO of YOUNNECT GmbH Berlin, prefers not to gamble on computer games, but rather faces the numbers and complaints about a shortage of skilled workers compared to his personal experiences.

For him, the problem is mostly homemade: Companies do not educate enough, behave arrogantly towards applicants, or have never learned to present themselves and their jobs as an attractive brand. For Gaedt, the so-called shortage of skilled workers is above all a mismatch between employers and qualified applicants.

Employer branding meets skills shortage: Problems homemade? lead-digital2

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Interview with Headhunter Dirk Ohlmeier


Dirk Ohlmeier confirmed in the interview that many companies are themselves responsible for their misery.

Mr Ohlmeier, from your point of view as Headhunter: Do we have a shortage of skilled workers or not?


One can not say that in general: For some companies, the search for suitable employees is certainly more difficult than for others. For example, we had a middle-class client for whom we should recruit a project management manager. The job had been vacant for six months.

What is this?


For various reasons: Many SMEs, for example, are simply unknown to applicants. Or their location is unattractive. Or the payment bad. Or the requirements for applicants are unclear or poorly communicated.

You think companies are themselves responsible for the shortage of skilled workers?


Partly yes. Our head of project management, for example, lacked the HR manager with relevant information about the position. The reason is something we experience very often: the department has many requirements for the position. Until the job description, these specifications are then reduced to a list of keywords, whereby important points are lost or lost in importance. In the end, no candidate can identify with it anymore.

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What can companies do better then?


Take the applicant seriously and no longer treat him as a petitioner, but lead an open discussion at eye level. Many companies, on the other hand, ignore qualified candidates because of careless mistakes in the CV, a bad photo - or because the common thread is not immediately obvious.

And what can be improved in the application process?


The Human Resources Department should fine-tune the requirements of the applicants with the department head. It is also important to have a recruiting process with clearly defined dates, which includes both feedback to the candidates, dates for the next process steps, and deadlines for a Plan B, if the vacancy can not be filled by the company itself in order to anticipate financial consequences.

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