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12.08.2022 News & insights

Overcoming Germany’s labour shortage

Overcoming Germany’s labour shortage

If you’ve noticed you’re struggling to attract skilled talent to your open roles—you’re not alone. The skilled worker shortage in Germany (and other European countries) has been wreaking havoc on hiring managers for months.

In March 2022 there were said to be around 558,000 job vacancies in Germany for which there were no available qualified candidates. And, with the talent shortage already being the top risk to business growth pre-pandemic, this has only got worse since. Combine these already detrimental points with a rise in worldwide resignations, dubbed The Great Resignation, and filling positions with qualified talent starts to seem impossible.

However, despite the increase in difficulty that these factors have had on hiring, it isn’t impossible to bring in and retain talented workers. All it takes is a few achievable changes to your hiring strategy and dedication to attracting talent.

Which German sectors are struggling with the skills shortage?

While the information technology and engineering sectors have widely reported experiencing a skills shortage, there are many other sectors that have also felt the pinch. The following skills shortage list for Germany documents four of the main struggling industries, and is by no means exhaustive.

  1. Logistics skills shortage

    The logistics sector has experienced a struggle in recruiting and retaining employees. Truck drivers, and HGV drivers especially, are in high demand, with around 13,000 extra HGV drivers needed to fill the shortage in Germany alone. This number could also increase over the coming months, due to problems posed by the war in Ukraine.

    This logistics skills shortage is in no way limited to Germany, though. For example, the UK has also seen a dramatic increase in logistics talent due to Brexit and COVID-19.

  2. Hospitality staff shortage

    The blue-collar labour shortage is just as pressing as the white-collar labour shortage, if not worse. After several lockdowns, business closures, and unstable conditions in the leisure and hospitality industries, many German businesses were forced to either place their employees on a ‘short-time work’ scheme, or simply let them go. This, in turn, means these employees were likely to seek other employment.

    Fast-forward to hospitality reopening, and Germany suddenly faced with a travel industry that could surpass pre-pandemic levels of demand. These businesses are now facing a staffing shortage. One of our clients at JOIN, Radisson Blu, commented on the situation:

    “We can’t find professionally trained stuff anymore because in Germany during the COVID pandemic, a lot of them left the industry, you know, they found different jobs. They found jobs where you work nine-to-five Monday through Friday; they don’t need to work weekends anymore or holidays, right? So most of the trained professionals are out of the picture.”
    Conrad Geske, Radisson Blu, General Manager

  3. Healthcare professionals shortage

    Obviously, one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic was the healthcare industry. Germany, along with many other European countries, was already struggling to fill nursing and intensive care positions before COVID-19 hit. Once the pandemic did hit, matters became more dire. Around 12% of intensive care unit roles remain unfilled, and around 14,000 registered nurse positions stay vacant.

    This shortage is made more challenging by the fact that a nursing degree in Germany takes a minimum of three years to complete, and longer if the student chooses to study part-time.

What can be done to overcome the skills shortage in Germany?

So, if you, like many others, are one of the hiring professionals struggling to find talent during this spectacularly widespread shortage, how can you improve your talent attraction efforts?

Find out how to get ahead of your competition by following this simple six-step strategy which will help you to put a solid strategy in place, and attract and hire the talent you need.

Hiring global talent

We’ve discussed the benefits of hiring international talent before, and we’ve even put together an article on how to hire global talent. But, we’re going to mention it again in this list, the reason being that there’s no overstating how useful this hiring strategy can be.

Hiring skilled workers from outside the country makes it easier to attract more talent, as you are not narrowing your talent pool to one nation. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of a more diverse workforce with employees from different backgrounds.

Want to get started hiring international talent? Check out these job ads that get global talent acquisition right.

Be prepared to train your talent

One point that companies too often overlook is candidate potential. In most cases, a candidate can easily be trained and upskilled to be able to perform the role they’re applying for. Therefore, looking at the skills they already possess, as well as their attitude and what they can add to the team’s culture, should be just as important (if not more important) than the experience they have.

Of course, this does depend on the position, but in a lot of cases, the candidate will already have transferable skills. For a more detailed explanation of this hiring strategy, take a look at our article on hiring for skills rather than roles.

Rethink the role’s seniority

In some cases, you may be asking too much (or too little) of the talent that is out there. If you’re looking to hire a mid-level Developer, for example, and are struggling to find someone up to the task, why not consider hiring an entry-level Developer, or hiring an apprentice? Depending on your team and budget, this could work vice-versa, too.

A great way to decipher whether you need to rethink the position’s seniority is by assessing the CVs you receive and the interviews you’re having. If you’re noticing talented people applying for a position below their skill level, don’t turn them away. Why not negotiate the role with them? They are sure to have a great candidate experience this way, and you won’t kick yourself later for letting great talent go.

In some cases, you may even consider taking on a part-time worker to fill the gap.

Create a talent pool

You may notice from time to time that you post a role and get a ton of applicants. Then, the next time you’re hiring for a similar position, you get none. Well, this is a great situation to highlight the importance of having a talent pool!

Keeping the details of qualified applicants who didn’t quite make the cut will give you a database of potential employees to whom you can reach out when a new position opens. The best part is, you can usually skip initial interviews here, as you’ll already have an idea of the candidate’s background and motivations, meaning the time to hire is also greatly reduced.

Search beyond the obvious job boards

An unfortunate, but inevitable, symptom of the skills shortage is the influx of job postings for the same types of roles on job sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed.

While hiring success is still high on these platforms, a great way to overtake the competition is to post your advertisements on more niche job boards too. With fewer competitors using these boards, and a much more concentrated selection of candidates, here you can more easily cut through the noise and reach talent.

An even better technique to help improve your reach is to use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) like JOIN with a multiposting function. This way, you can receive job board recommendations for boards that best suit your role, and post to multiple places with just one click:

In less than 5 minutes

Multipost your job ad to 100+ job boards

Sign up – it’s free

Make your job ad stand out from the crowd

As mentioned above, competition is fierce on the job boards. And, with both huge companies and SMBs fighting to hire talent in the same industries, it can be extremely hard to make your voice heard.

Therefore, to be in with a chance of attracting the right people, your job advertisement has to stand out. This means listing the right benefits, using the right language, getting the length right, and more. Need help with this? Our guide to writing great job ads is a good place to start:

Want to write a great job advertisement?

Get started with tips and tricks from our helpful guide.

Read our guide

More ways to cut the skills shortage competition

As we said above; unfortunately, the skills shortage will hit some businesses harder than others. If you’re a small business owner, for example, you might not have a full-time HR department to dedicate the time to these tasks. Plus, you likely won’t have the big brand name to help bring talent in naturally.

If this sounds familiar, don’t panic. The following articles will give you the guidance you need to keep hiring great talent:

Easily post your job ads to 10+ job boards

Find your next hire - for free!

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