Anyone who has recently tried to get a craftsman knows: there are not enough. For years, the industry has been complaining about a lack of young people – despite increasingly aggressive recruitment attempts. In its current poster campaign, the Chamber of Crafts asks the young people quite openly: “Why should a career only be possible with a degree?” On another motif, the graduate parents are even blamed for their offspring choosing a different career path (“What speaks against crafts ? My academic parents”).

But is it true that the finding that today’s young people would rather study something than do an apprenticeship? The German Economic Institute (IW) comes to a more differentiated conclusion in a current analysis.

According to the IW, it is correct that the number of young people applying for an apprenticeship has declined significantly over the past ten years. While there were still 642,000 applicants for dual vocational training in 2011, in 2021 there were just under 541,000. The number of training places offered fell in the same period, but to a much lesser extent from around 600,000 to 536,000 places. As a result, fewer training contracts are signed and more positions remain unfilled.

However, this decline does not apply to all training occupations. In their evaluation, the IW researchers identified 77 training occupations in which the number of applicants is higher today than five years ago. On the other hand, there were 169 occupations in which the number of applicants fell, while the level remained constant in four occupations.

In nine professions, the numbers in the period under review from 2016 to 2021 even rose continuously year after year, contrary to the general trend. And: Of these nine rising professions, eight come from crafts and construction. Only the area of ​​real estate marketing and management does not fit into the grid.

The strongest percentage increase is for excavator drivers (plus 67 percent), although the absolute number of applicants here is low. But there is also an enormous influx in civil engineering (plus 42 percent) and in two-wheeler technology (plus 43 percent). The roofers registered around 36 percent more applicants, the tilers around 31 percent. The trend professions also include surveying technology (plus 25 percent), sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology (plus 23 percent) and construction electronics (plus 18 percent).

The IW authors cite a number of reasons for the increasing demand for these professions. There is a shortage of skilled workers in all these professions – apart from two-wheeler technology – so that job security is high. In addition, the number of training positions has increased in all the professions mentioned, so there is a good chance of getting hold of one. The salaries are – again with the exception of two-wheeler technology – average to above average compared to all professions. In addition, the professions have proven to be crisis-proof even in the corona pandemic.

After all, many of the professions mentioned are particularly in focus in the course of climate change. Roofers who install solar panels or heating experts who install heat pumps not only experience increased media attention, but also a social appreciation of their activities, which are considered meaningful. So young people can certainly be enthusiastic about an apprenticeship – it just has to be attractive enough.

Sources: German Economic Institute / Chamber of Crafts