Germany reports labor shortage in one-sixth of professions

Germany’s national labor agency says the country has labor shortages in one-sixth of professions and the number is growing

BERLIN — Germany has labor shortages in one-sixth of professions and the number is growing, the national labor agency said Friday as ministers prepare to travel to Brazil to encourage the recruitment of caregivers.

Germany has Europe’s biggest economy. The Federal Labor Agency said its annual analysis showed that 200 out of about 1,200 professions it surveyed had labor shortages last year, up from 148 the previous year. It said that bus drivers, service jobs in hotels and restaurants, and jobs in metalwork were among those that joined the list.

Other professions where Germany is struggling to fill jobs are in nursing care, child care, the construction industry and automotive technology, along with truck drivers, architects, pharmacists and information technology specialists. The labor agency said that it’s keeping an eye on another 157 professions that could potentially develop labor shortages.

The agency pointed to a “mismatch” between demand for labor and potential employees, and said that only 26% of jobless skilled workers seeking employment last year were looking for a job in one of the areas with shortages.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is trying to attract more skilled workers from outside the European Union, easing bureaucratic requirements. Experts say the country needs about 400,000 skilled immigrants each year as the country’s aging workforce shrinks.

During a trip to India in February, Scholz said his government wants to make it easier for IT experts from India to obtain work visas for Germany. The development and labor ministers discussed skilled labor when they visited Ghana in February.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Labor Minister Hubertus Heil are due to set off for a visit to Brazil on which labor immigration will be at the top of their agenda.

Labor Ministry spokeswoman Christine Göpner-Reinecke said that Heil believes that it’s important to “proceed very sensitively and not to deprive a country of workers it needs itself.” She said that “in Brazil, the potential for workers in the nursing care sector is very large and the qualification level is very high.”