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Metal and electrical industry breaks the 4 million mark

Although the number of people employed in the metal and electrical industry continues to rise, the biggest problem facing the sector is a shortage of skilled workers.

11 Oct. 2018
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(CHart: Gesamtmetall | Gesamtverband der Arbeitgeberverbände der Metall- und Elektro-Industrie e.V.)

According to the latest data from the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), exactly 4,018,302 people were working in the metal and electrical industry in July 2018 – a figure not seen since the first quarter of 1993. Gesamtmetall (the Federation of German Employers’ Associations in the Metal and Electrical Engineering Industries) reports that 86,600 new permanent jobs were created in 2017 alone. International activities have also contributed to this growth: Between 1995 and 2016, the number of jobs in German metal and electrical companies abroad rose from 929,000 to 1,882,000.

This positive trend could, however, slow down, due to a shortage of skilled workers. Gesamtmetall estimates that there are currently 340,000 posts vacant in the sector. One in three companies now state a lack of skilled labor as their biggest problem; although at around 200,000, the number of trainees is at a respectable level. Gesamtmetall President Dr. Rainer Dulger also urges responses to the US tax reform and the labor market reform in France. The “redistribution of income and wealth and standstill in reform efforts” are causing Germany to fall behind on the international market.

A report in leading German-language business newspaper ‘Handelsblatt’ confirms just how important the sector is for Germany: The metal and electrical industry pays approximately €145 billion in tax and €154 billion in social security contributions into the public coffers. That constitutes around a fifth of all tax revenue and 28% of social contributions.