18 Apr 2024, 13:17
Julian Wettengel

Skills shortage threatens transformation to a sustainable industry – engineers' association

Clean Energy Wire

A shortfall of skilled labour is threatening Germany’s transition to a sustainable industry, engineers’ association group VDI director Adrian Willig has warned. The number of vacancies for engineers remains at a high level, said the association. The so-called "bottleneck index" – the number of vacancies per 100 unemployed people – is particularly high for professions that are important for climate and digitalisation issues. These include energy and electrical engineering (bottleneck ratio 615), construction services engineering and architecture (485), mechanical and automotive engineering (392), and computer science (380). "What is particularly problematic for the success of the transformation is that the number of first-year students in engineering and computer science has decreased," said Willig. The number fell from 143,400 in 2016 to 128,400 in 2023, a decrease of 10.5 percent.

The shortage of skilled labour is a drag on the global energy transition and could put UN climate targets at risk, consultancy BCG had said recently. According to BCG’s calculations, 400,000 green economy jobs could remain vacant by 2030 in Germany alone. There is a shortage in many transition-relevant fields, from utilities to public transport.

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