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{Replica} Embarrassing dispute over DIW study, media thriller and successful crowdsourcing: lack of skilled workers or not?

A recent study by DIW speaks for itself Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® has been hotly debated for months: We may not have a shortage of skilled workers! But how could that happen? Conspiracy of companies and the media - or just a gambling game and many misunderstandings?

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Censorship or media crime?

Schildbügerstreich? Media Crime? Or large scale wage dumping? The fact is, if the issue of professional defensiveness was not so serious and there were not so many injured victims, the story would be almost funny. Because all, really all, have participated: associations, employment agency and the oh so critical media at the Fachkräfte-Mangel-Chor.

And now that: In a weekly report of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) speaks labor market researcher Karl Brenke, of which I by the many discussion contributions on Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® have been convinced for some time (or at least that it can not be as serious as many do ..)

The interview with the well-known US sociologist Richard Sennett was just fitting: in an interview with WN-TV he explained the negative effects short-term contracts have on employees and the productivity of a company and how politics would shape our working world in the future.

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Professionals glut?

And certainly not as it is claimed again and again that we have a shortage of skilled workers in Germany, for example, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) or the Federal Employment Agency. On the contrary, Karl Brenke even fears an impending lack of skilled workers for some areas. But how does that fit in with the General Skilled Labor Deficiency Hysteria?

The story got started when Spiegel Reported online last Tuesday about a study by DIW: In a weekly report published yesterday (which can be downloaded for free as a PDF), Karl Brenke, Scientific Advisor on the Board of DIW Berlin, explains why he does not currently believe there is a shortage of skilled workers: “We cannot rule out that we will have a glut of skilled workers in some industries. At present, only a few areas can be identified where there is a shortage of skilled workers. This is most likely still the case with the doctors. "

A media crime

The study should, it said Spiegel-Online, actually appearing on Tuesday. But she didn't. When I asked the press office, I was told that it was going to appear late. Reason: Because Brenke not only contradicts the generally prevailing opinion of the shortage of skilled workers, but also in particular his boss, DIW President Klaus Zimmermann, the study had to be quickly revised again - or supplemented, as the DIW press office said.

What was new was obviously the statement that Brenke's theses only refer to the next 3-5 years. Apart from that, the forecasts usually go wrong anyway, you don't take a long future oracle anyway - right? “A lot went wrong”, the press lady from DIW also knew to report, at which after the SPONArticle by Tuesday the phones were no longer idle. Mr. Zimmermann would probably have preferred to withdraw the study, which was no longer possible. Instead, you could only put them into perspective.

Do not trust statistics that you did not fake yourself!

And what's in it now? Well, Karl Brenke has eagerly combined all sorts of figures and his theses have been well founded. The possible occupational heat is justified with several statistical values. At the same time, Benke's investigations of the Institute for German Economics are debatable as questionable. And one thing, Brenke also makes clear at the same time: There are so far no scientific procedures that represent the entire labor market and thus could make a definitive statement about the entire economic sector.

For example, there is a lack of current, up-to-date data on the development of wages in individual professions; there are figures only on charges in individual groups of specialists. And the figures for the vacancies as well as for the unemployed contain only the figures of the Federal Agency for Labor - which is not reported there, does not appear in the statistics. And not everything that is reported as a vacancy is really free (eg for changers). All factors that make every statistic quickly imprecise.

In addition, according to Brenke, a distinction must be made between university graduates and specialists with in-company training. With the latter, there could actually be a shortage at some point - if one does not get the youngsters to study what is needed on the job market. Another oracle…

Why there is no professional defenses!

But what is really so explosive in the study? For example, wages for skilled workers had hardly risen, as would be the case with bottlenecks, and they have not developed better than those of other employees since 2009. The number of students and graduates has been rising since 2007.

The most important factor, however, is that the number of unemployed is higher than the number of vacancies, according to the Federal Agency for Employment and Calculations of DIW. Brenke sees a significant bottleneck only among the vulcanists, electrical installers and physicians.

... then they're gone ...

And the latter stupidly prefer to migrate to Scandinavia, even though medical training is so expensive: Brenke states: "Germany subsidizes other countries!"

By the way, not only: Karen, open the whole discussion Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® kicked off and thankful white man still draws my attention to every publication on the subject, has also emigrated to Sweden: "I have not regretted my decision to turn my back on Germany for a minute and would do it again."

Misunderstanding or manipulation?

But where does the discrepancy between the previous tonality and this study come from? Behind the scenes, those affected suspect manipulation by the employers' side, with the aim of squeezing wages through a large selection of well-trained, local, flexible workers and, on the other hand, being able to dispose of older engineers.

That sounds logical, but as long as I don't have the evidence, I'd rather assume general ignorance, misjudgments and statistical inaccuracies on all sides: After all, German companies are still spending a lot of money on the Internet, at career fairs or elsewhere to interest well-educated young people for a job at their company. And they wouldn't do that when they didn't need people - right?

A rogue who thinks evil

This is how Bernd Schmitz, Head of University Marketing at Bayer AG in Leverkusen, writes Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®: “For Bayer, I can say that we are constantly hiring new employees - over 2009 academics in 300 alone. A large proportion are graduates with an engineering degree. ” Schmitz also admits: “I would only speak of a deficiency personally if vacancies cannot be filled within a reasonable period of time. So far, we at Bayer have been able to fill all vacancies with new employees. ”

Anyone who wanted to think bad, could now say that, of course, the pure image of various companies - practically advertising. And that the tactic serves to skim off the cream from a large pool of graduates later cheap. But maybe you're just really scared, later down without standing there?

"We're not that desperate either!"

What in the discussion in the blog but also became clear: One or the other is inclined to take the word professional deficit literally. Failure to do so does not mean that companies are so desperate that they hire everyone: you can still see whether professional qualifications, specialization and personal factors, such as mobility or teamwork, are right!

Mechanical engineer Marcus, who graduated in November 2009 and then was looking for a job until August 2010, also had to find that out. After more than 50 applications and 4 unsuccessful job interviews, he wrote: “Most of the time, the reason for the refusal was that my qualifications did not quite meet the requirements. Well, I finished my studies with 2,4, but I also have a technical apprenticeship and I did my internship abroad. ”

Meanwhile, he emigrated - to Switzerland, where it worked with only two applications. Are German companies too stupid to recognize good people?

What can I do?

The fact is that many employers, however, prefer to go further than unsuccessful candidates - as Birgitt Dondorff rather scientifically demonstrated in this subject, and how this computer scientist reports, who would rather remain anonymous:

“We are desperately looking for software developers in our company in the Rhein-Main area. Most of our applicants are also rejected. Applicants must have practical experience in the programming languages ​​and operating systems we use and speak English very well. You should also have knowledge of the stock exchange environment. We are under so much pressure that we can hardly train new people and it is therefore not possible to hire beginners. However, we definitely hire people over 50. There is often a lack of interpersonal communication. We just can't imagine some people in our teams. If it turns out that a new employee is not performing well, he is dismissed without hesitation. ”


The shortage of skilled workers in Germany could end badly in the long run: more and more new students studying with high expectations on the labor market, but not finding a job and then moving away. Bad investment for the state - also because, for example, money is invested in surplus subjects, while being saved at another point.

So maybe it's time to discuss something different about this topic?

Note, thanks and update

Although this is a serious topic, I have opted for a semi-ironic view - I hope you understand that.

Anyway, thank you to the well above 100 commentators who have been contributing to this topic for months with their testimonials, comments and links to more information. On monday my article will appear on RP-ONLINE. This is really crowdsourcing!

Update: The comments are of course as always with many more information, links and hints. Just join in the discussion!

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35 responses to "{replica} Embarrassing dispute over DIW study, media thriller and successful crowdsourcing: skills shortage or not?"

  1. Phimea says:

    In the search for a recent study, I have come across this study. Very interesting, but also needs still current information. Someone tips for me?

    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Phimea,
      this summer there was an ARD report on the topic, I have collected some information and reader feedback with more current material here. What are you looking for exactly?

  2. Regina Haberfellner says:

    @NikolausKoller Well, it doesn't seem that clear: and -> MINT skills gap ...

  3. Solveig says:

    Thanks for tip to the topic angebl. FK deficiency in D RT @Birgit_Dondorff in this blog has, among other things, 1 Ing. Commented @mab__

  4. Birgit Dondorff says:

    @fissol @mab__ in this blog has comment on1 ing

  5. Simone Janson says:

    @ b4shot very nice, "don't rant about the shortage of skilled workers" (FAZ) - in addition

  6. Simone Janson says:

    @alekscee @SenseiDesign @enypsilon Sometimes there are really useful comments #crowdsourcing

  7. Simone Janson says:

    @mauisurfer25 if you ever look for another example of crowdsourcing

  8. Karen says:


    here are a few links that can help you decide on emigration:



    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Karen, thank you for the research and the links. On the topic of working abroad / emigration I would like to do something else!

  9. Simone Janson says:

    Hello Karen, Dirk, Birgit,
    Birgit certainly has a good start, a new start is certainly difficult. However, I can see from my own experience abroad that a new country with a different mentality brings with it not only linguistic difficulties. However, it is certainly also dependent on the individual case.

    But that would be such a topic about which again a separate article would be worthwhile ..

    @ Damaged: Of course, every company knows how their own staff is. However, as a company, you may not have an overview of what it will look like in the entire labor market or in the coming years.
    Apart from that, I also rather tend to point to the fact that the issue is launched rather on the corporate side rather than the policy side. Since there is no evidence, I do not like to be so contented with conspiracy theories.

    Generally: I'm on the road until Thursday evening and have only sporadically Internet. Therefore, I may ask for some patience with the answers.
    Thank you.

  10. damaged says:

    @Simone, why shouldn't this be the intention of companies and “HR agencies”? Should we now assume that the companies are acting so unprofessionally that they do not know how their workforce is doing? Why do Bosch, Daimler & Co. push their engineers into engineering groups that are not bound by collective bargaining agreements and that pay significantly less?
    Are we to assume that the engineers are running into the company today (100 top applicants for 1 vacant, "airy" position) so that the poor applicants have to go through the STUPIDEST recruitment tests, but the employers are so naive as to think they could last 50 years plan for the future?
    How do the 34000 sites come into the industry every year, which are included in the engineering bill, even though the industry is still losing ~ 2% of jobs every year? Does not this sound like a false message from the companies?

    By the way: 2 years ago I accompanied 3 engineers on their way to 1x Norway and 2x Switzerland. Back then: low 1-digit applications, almost always an interview. A 0815 electrical engineer career starter, written off by the ARGE in Germany, wrote 5 applications to Switzerland and landed 5 hits, he was then hired directly for his chosen job without multiple “rounds” as is common in perverted Germany. The biggest hurdle - the Swiss bureaucracy - was taken over by the company. It was hired faster than Bosch responded to an interesting application with the first round of introductions. And his job is also with a large corporation!

    Germany does not need any engineers, so I have resigned myself. I would only find it fair if you got the chance to change your job AND NOT lure students into ruin.

  11. Birgit Dondorff says:


    Certainly there are risks! But isn't there a national one too ?! (Apart from any linguistic matters - except if I orient myself to A, CH, possibly NL)

    The job orientation of, for example, Eg NRW to Berlin or Munich: building the social environment; Over the trial period or even first search!

    Greeting Birgit Dondorff

  12. Dirk Steffes says:

    @ Karen
    “It's just that everyone who leaves Germany has a job in the country of emigration. You can only leave Germany if you have a job in the new country. Anything else would be an incalculable risk. "

    But I can't confirm that. You often only get the job if you already live in the country in question - despite the internet, possibly you first have to acquire a certain language skills there and find out where there are suitable and sufficiently paid jobs. A remote application has a chance of success only under certain conditions (actual shortage of skilled workers, unique selling point of the job seeker - e.g. German language). Or you can settle for a simple activity in order to make ends meet and continue searching in parallel.

    I would like to point out that many people break off their stay abroad after a few months or a year or two. In the beginning you approach everything very euphorically and you are happy to have finally left “bad” Germany. However, this mood can change relatively quickly, especially if you don't have a supportive environment in the new country (e.g. a resident partner) and or you get into financial difficulties.

  13. Simone Janson says:

    @Karen: Thanks for the link. Habs not yet managed with the listen, but will not be forgotten.
    @Birgit: I have to think about that first. In the first moment I found this somewhat absurd, also because the lack of skilled workers comes from employers' associations. Perhaps, however, is also the thesis expressed in this blog, that would come from the corporate side (eg to push the wages) exactly as far?
    And maybe this simply shows that we do not get along with conspiracy theories of whatever kind, because it is simply a grandiose ignorance of the actual situation with all involved?
    One can only remember this: there is no perfect statistical method which can verify or falsify the professional defendant.
    Simone Janson

  14. Karen says:


    I had this morning, the link to a broadcast in the SWR, which was sent today from 08: 15, from a former Studienkollegen get. I could not see the show live in Sweden. But also the link was very interesting. It shows the appreciation that companies bring to their employees. I could also find this myself in my work in Germany as a H4-Aufstockerin. Compared to my experience (very short) in Sweden, however, I can notice a serious difference. I am not treated as a disposition, but as a person. Sweden is not the paradise either. Performance is required just as in Germany, but I am treated as a human being. One can not generalize this, there are certainly other examples in Sweden and in Germany. I can only speak of my experience.

    Here is the link (SWR, WDR, title: Profit at any price market without morals):



  15. Birgit Dondorff says:

    On question 2 I found support through Karen (explanation)

    On question 1 I do not want to express myself in detail, when I say,
    it is a political interest. I think there is only
    limits in the directions described by you!

    Greetings and thank you for your understanding,

    Birgit Dondorff

  16. Melodies for Millions | JOBlog - the job & career blog says:

    [...] Embarrassing dispute over DIW study, media crime and successful crowdsourcing: skills shortage or ni ... at [...]

  17. Simone Janson says:

    Ms. Dondorff, that doesn't answer my question - or am I just getting it wrong?

  18. Birgit Dondorff says:

    @Karen: Thanks, exactly as I would have explained it (including Munich! :-)

    Greeting Birgit

  19. Karen says:

    The cost of living is certainly higher. But there is still a lot more to be had in relation to Germany. Of course you can not live in the city center of Stockholm, but outside. But in comparison, you can not live in the center of Munich. The security of permanent employment and a good working environment are also to be underestimated.




    Embarrassing dispute over DIW study, media thriller and successful ...: A current study by DIW spr ... #Crowdsourcing

  21. Simone Janson says:

    @ Karen: Thanks for the description of the almost paradisiacal sounding conditions in Scandinavia .. apart from perhaps the somewhat unfair application process ...

    @Birgit Dondorff: I've read it several times now, but unfortunately I didn't understand the context ...
    Of course it would be better for everyone if the salaries were high ...
    But they are not because we do not seem to have a shortage of skilled workers. Conversely, salaries would increase automatically because politicians call for a shortage of skilled workers, but rather because the company cannot find anyone ... Or do you think that this is a failed attempt by politicians to launch just this?

    By the way: In view of the higher cost of living and taxes (or am I wrong?), I think that the salaries are higher in Scandinavia is justified….

  22. Birgit Dondorff says:

    Hello in the round,

    on the one hand, I suspect a purely political interest.

    As small. Explanation: Our specialists (specialists and academics) are particularly popular in the Scandinavian area, as well as NL, Denmark and Switzerland, etc.:
    a) Quality of education
    b) Price - in other words, desired salary

    But the normal local ones are much more settled than one is willing to pay.
    In the end, of course, Germany would be unable to recruit from these countries due to their salary.

    Greeting Birgit

  23. Karen says:

    It is also a different think. Employees are viewed abroad as human capital and not as a cost factor, which is immediately reduced in the event of a profit collapse. The companies invest in the employees and receive, in return, commitment, performance and loyalty. The teams are mixed between the ages. a sliding know-how transfer takes place. With the older engineers, the know-how remains as company capital and is not sent to the early retirement. With the prospect of an employment that does not lead to unemployment with completion of the 50th year of life, one can plan the future.

    On the subject of professional strengths: in the Handelsblatt article yesterday and today, that Bayer, Merck and Roche several thousand coworkers were dismissed.



  24. Karen says:


    not everyone who applies abroad will get a job immediately. It is only that everyone who leaves Deuztschland has a place in the country of emigration. You can only leave Germany if you have a job in the new country. Everything else would be an incalculable risk. However, it is still the case that a job abroad is still being given, as the companies, especially in Scandinavia, are investing in training and further education and thus also giving graduates a chance.

    The problem, however, is to get knowledge of a job. Many vacancies are not advertised in Scandinavia, but filled on recommendations. That was also the case for me. A former fellow student had passed my application in-house and recommended me. So it came to an interview on an application. Many who apply directly, also get a rejection. This also applies to Norway and Sweden. There is also no shortage of skilled workers in Scandinavia. Although German training is a welcome plus, a recommendation from an in-house employee opens the door to a job interview. But the technical and human requirements must fit, otherwise there is a rejection.



  25. Karen says:


    the two articles in Spiegel-Online have been perceived with great interest by engineers of German origin. Two former fellow students from Norway (Oslo and Stavanger) also asked me how the response from the German-born engineers to the article was?

    It is a bit surprising that the first publication, which seems very well founded, is turned unfounded in the second article by the leadership of DIW unfavored.

    The tenor that Germany will have a strong shortage of skilled workers, caused by the uncertainty of the skilled workers in Germany, prevails not only among the emigrated German engineers. The Swedish colleagues also expect increasing numbers of people leaving Germany. It is a pity that one does not try to keep the German specialists in their own country, but only relies on immigration to Germany, whose insertion is very questionable.

    Greetings from the cold Stockholm at 0 degrees and expected snowfall


    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Karen and all other interested
      nice that the topic is still being dealt with in the cold north (here it is only marginally warmer and raining ... therefore):
      Please read carefully: The study, which you can download for free here, has not been twisted into the opposite - it is much too long for that (and, by the way, highly recommended)!

      ME has that Spiegel To put it just a little boldly online ... rather, only one passage was added, according to which the forecast period is shorter (right at the beginning including the heading). In addition, here and there in the study there are some qualifying sentences that could have been added later, but may have been there before. The DIW only speaks of additions, I cannot exactly reconstruct that, one would have to compare with the version that SPON had.

      However, the basic assumption that there is no specialist deficit is still demonstrated by the study.

      Here are some responses from DAX companies
      This also corresponds to what I have heard of staff in recent days and what they really believe. So did me Birgit Dondorff a more scientific concept of explanation from a personal perspective.

      Interesting I found this comment on Tagesschau.de, which also seems to confirm many reproaches expressed in the thread, which of course is again only an opinion:

      And Eva Zil, also HR (www.online-recruiting.net) says on my Facebook-Page:

      The hype is often driven by service providers from the HR industry. Even though I belong to this industry myself, I don't like to use the shortage of skilled workers as a sales argument. In the meantime it's just sucked out…. [End of quote]

      I think the truth has something from all aspects.

      But if we do not have a shortage of skilled workers, it is obvious to me why people are allowed to migrate: short-term thinking. Rather, I'm surprised that abroad, as you Karen (and there are other examples), so quickly find a job (with only one application). Because there is a desperate search? Or because you think longer term?

      Would be an interesting aspect also for the study, which Monika commissioned and whose questions I link here again!

      I'm looking forward to more posts!
      Simone Janson

  26. Simone Janson says:

    Hello Birgit,
    Thank you for your contribution. With the opinion you are not alone, as the two discussion heads show.
    Simone Janson

  27. Birgit says:

    Since 2009 I am in the orientation. However, I am not registered with the employment office as such, but I finance myself in the meantime.
    Despite very good qualification profile m. According to practice you have been spoiled for choice ...

    I suspect a purely political interest behind it ...

  28. Martin Salwiczek says:

    Tweetcount Widget

  29. Simone Janson says:

    Skilled labor shortage or not? Discussion about the DIW study - facts, statements, figures, opinions at a glance:

  30. Simone Janson says:

    Freshly blogged: Embarrassing about DIW study, media crimes and successful crowdsourcing ...

  31. Competencepartner says:

    Embarrassing dispute over DIW study, media thriller and successful crowdsourcing: shortage of skilled workers or ...

  32. Simone Janson says:

    Has not happened for a long time, that I needed the whole day for 1 Post-but was worth it # Skills shortage

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