The working world has been undergoing a transformation for quite some time. Developments, however, appear to be accelerating. Professions are changing, and both employees and employers need new skills. Above all, these include the ability to learn and the willingness to continue developing.

At the same time, companies are having difficulty finding new staff in traditional professions. This issue impacts not only specialist, but also laborers, as our labor market report once again shows. The top ten professions include four jobs for semi-skilled workers.

Companies are forced to do a balancing act: How can they take employees along with them on the transformation, and who will fill in the gaps when many workers begin their retirement in the foreseeable future?    

There certainly is unused potential available, a mantra that academics, politicians, and training providers like us have been repeating for years. This includes young people without a diploma or training certificate, specialist workers from abroad, the long-term unemployed, or immigrants. Certainly, tapping into their potential seems more difficult than recruiting “ready-made” specialists – although even this assumption is questionable. And it is also clear that not every person who failed to (re-)enter the workforce at first go can become a software developer or electrical engineer. Of course, they don’t need to.

We need to get away from thinking only in terms of complete training courses. If we utilize and qualify people in a highly targeted way, based on their individual experiences and skills, then they can help alleviate shortages. Then, they can continue their development on the job, step by step.

We have searched for solutions to address the challenges sketched out here from academic sources and from practice. In our deep dive and interviews, I am pleased to introduce you to people who have taken the initiative to address the shortage of skilled workers and transformation of the working world in unexpected ways.

Our job market analysis provides you with information on the demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers in Germany. In addition, we have taken a closer look at the professions of electronics technician and e-commerce employee. Employees in both of these jobs are working in an environment that has changed drastically. Electronics technicians even play a key role in realizing the climate and energy revolution.

I hope you enjoy reading this report.

Katrin Haupt, DEKRA Akademie CEO