According to a study, a growing shortage of skilled workers in the digital sector threatens to become a brake on the German economy in the coming years. “The shortage of skilled workers is slowing down employment growth,” warned the German Economic Institute (IW) in a recent study.

According to the IW, there could be a shortage of almost 106,000 qualified workers in digitization professions in Germany by 2026. This would clearly exceed the previous high of almost 100,000 missing digital experts in 2018 and three out of five vacancies could no longer be filled, it was said. The “Spiegel” had previously reported about it.

“Digitization professions are essential for the success of the digital transformation and the digital sovereignty of Germany,” says the study. This is about skills that are needed to develop and produce new digital key technologies or to enable their use. The IW therefore called for rapid measures to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. As part of career orientation, more young people need to be encouraged to take up digital electrical jobs. In addition, the immigration rules for skilled electricians could be simplified.

2.64 million employees in digitization jobs

According to IW, a total of around 2.64 million employees, from construction electrics specialists to software developers, were working in a digitization profession in 2021. If the previous trends continue, the number could increase by a further 11.2 percent to almost 3 million by 2026, the experts predicted.

The growth is being driven by the demand for IT specialists, who account for roughly a third of all employees in digitization jobs. Accordingly, by 2026 there should be a particularly large number of additional employees among highly qualified software development experts and IT consultants as well as IT specialists with vocational training.

However, the largest part of the gap in skilled workers will be accounted for by skilled workers with vocational training. According to the IW, there will be a desperate need for skilled workers in the apprenticeship “Electronics technician for industrial engineering” and similar professional fields in 2026.