Germany is currently grappling with a significant shortage of skilled workers as older employees retire. This demographic shift has resulted in nearly two million unfilled job positions in the country, according to the federal Institute for Employment Research (IAB). Although job seekers from the European Union can work in Germany without additional visa obstacles, the available workforce is still inadequate to fill the current demand for skilled labour.
To address this problem, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is taking steps to attract more workers from outside the European Union by easing immigration regulations. On Wednesday, Scholz’s cabinet will discuss a draft bill aimed at establishing legal migration channels to attract qualified individuals from countries outside the EU. The proposed bill would establish a new points-based system that considers factors such as German language proficiency, job qualifications, and age.
Scholz acknowledges that relying solely on the existing workforce in Germany would not be sufficient to close the skills gap. In his statement to parliament earlier this month, he stated that they would also attract urgently needed workers by opening up legal migration channels.
The steel industry is among the sectors affected by shortage of skilled workers. Many companies, including ArcelorMittal, are struggling to fill job vacancies despite employing thousands of workers. However, some workers like Steven Maillot see Eisenhuettenstadt, where ArcelorMittal employs 2,700 individuals and recruits around 50 new trainees each year, as a critical location for their career development.
In addition to the challenge of the skills gap, the steel industry faces another significant challenge of transitioning to greener technologies over the next decade due to its environmental impact. This shift will require substantial investment in research and development to achieve a more sustainable future. Overall, addressing the shortage of skilled workers will require a multi-faceted approach that includes immigration reforms, investments in education and training, and support for companies to transition to sustainable business models.
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