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Industrie 4.0

Increasing shortage of production workers

German industry needs programmers? That may well be the case, but there is currently a more urgent need for production workers. This is the finding of consulting firm PwC’s latest ‘mechanical engineering barometer’. One solution here is to develop digital skills internally

23 Oct. 2018
Increasing shortage of production workers (Photo: PWC)

German machine manufacturers are generally optimistic when it comes to development on the domestic market: Only 3 of the 100 managers surveyed in the sector anticipate a deterioration of the situation in the next twelve months. According to the mechanical engineering barometer , international trade poses a greater headache. Thilo Brodtmann, Managing Director of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), even tells German monthly business magazine ‘ Manager Magazin ’ that international trade conflicts, political turbulence, and digitalization are the “biggest challenges we’ve seen for decades”.

Yet, the situation is currently still good: 71% of companies stated that they are working at their capacity limit; the average utilization rate is 94%. The survey also found that growth could slow down as a result of the shortage of skilled workers. Because 62% of machine manufacturers want to expand in the coming months. In particular production and process technology managers are in demand, but are few and far between. Just shy of a third of those surveyed plan to recruit additional employees in the field of digital technologies, perhaps because the market is also lacking in such specialists. Instead, there is a growing realization that the potential of current employees could be exploited: Two thirds of those surveyed plan to train their workforce in digital technologies through further training.