According to a study, the shortage of craftsmen in Germany reached a new record level last year. In total, there were an average of 236,818 vacancies in mostly manual trades in 2022 – more than ever since the beginning of the observation period in 2010, reported the competence center for securing skilled workers (Kofa) of the employer-related Institute of German Economy (IW).

This compared to only 121,993 unemployed in these areas. “This means that even if all unemployed craftsmen and women had been placed in a suitable position, more than half of the vacancies in predominantly manual trades could not have been filled,” says the study.

According to the study, most of the skilled workers are lacking in the construction trades – especially in the field of structural electrical engineering and sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology. According to the study, companies are now reacting to the shortage by offering more training positions. However, the number of applicants has not yet been sufficient to fill all the apprenticeship positions.

According to Kofa, the most difficult thing for companies to find at the moment are master craftsmen. There is a lack of qualified personnel, especially in the areas of ophthalmic optics, hearing aid acoustics, orthopedic technology and dental technology. According to the study, almost nine out of ten vacancies could not be filled because there were no suitably qualified unemployed nationwide. But there was also a lack of journeymen and journeymen in many areas.

The need for craftsmen has been increasing almost continuously for a decade, emphasized the Cologne experts. Reasons for this include the political goals in climate protection and housing construction. In the healthcare trade – for example in the areas of optics and acoustics – demographic change is also leading to an increasing need for skilled workers.