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.