Germany’s new labour strategy sees skilled workers as crucial for energy transition
Clean Energy Wire
The German government has approved a new skilled labour strategy that includes measures to help companies and businesses attract and retain skilled workers in view of growing challenges in the labour market related to climate action and the energy transition. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) stressed that the effects of the long-term and far-reaching transformation processes of decarbonisation and digitisation – and the increasingly necessary adjustments to the ongoing climate change – are changing Germany as a business location. “This long-term structural change can only be successfully managed with a sufficient number of skilled hands and clever minds,” the labour ministry said. Economy minister Robert Habeck added, “we need skilled workers in many areas, but above all for the energy transition and climate protection.” Mobility, building, industry and energy sectors play a vital role in decarbonisation and while jobs in the fossil energy and automotive industry will be eliminated, many new jobs will be created in fields like renewable energy, “for which new qualifications and skills will be necessary,” the government’s strategy paper notes.
The mobility sector in particular will demand new skills that extends to new business models, production operations and supply chain as well as to automotive mechatronics and inspection professions. Demand for skilled workers is increasing in almost all relevant sectors, such as energy and building technology, heating and air conditioning and the construction sector. The need for skilled workers will continue to rise sharply in the coming years due to the need for refurbishment and the switch to renewable energy, particularly as many current workers will retire in the coming years. Commenting on the new strategy, Kerstin Andreae, head of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), warned: “There is a shortage of staff in numerous areas in the energy industry. In addition to the already high and steadily increasing need for qualified workers, forecasts indicate that 25 percent of the jobs in the industry will have to be filled over the next 10 years," Andreae said, warning that this "could also become a problem for the energy transition."