In just a few years, the time will come and the baby boomer cohorts will finally say goodbye to the labor market. How things will continue in view of the shortage of skilled workers is a major challenge for many companies. Germany’s largest employer, the state, is also heading for a massive personnel deficit – with consequences for all citizens and companies.
How large this staff gap will actually be by 2030 is now revealed by new calculations by the consulting firm McKinsey, which are available to the Handelsblatt. The figures provide an impression of the challenge facing the German state apparatus. According to this, by 2030 there will be a shortage of around 840,000 full-time specialists in the public sector. At the moment there are around 360,000.
Accordingly, the shortage of IT specialists will become particularly serious. According to the study, 140,000 jobs will be unfilled in seven years. There is already a shortage of around 39,000 specialists in computer science and IT professions at federal, state and municipal level.
The head of the German Association of Civil Servants (DBB), Ulrich Silberbach, is frustrated by these prophecies: “We have been warning of this dramatic shortage of skilled workers, not only in the IT sector, for ages,” says Silberbach.
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The measures taken to date to increase the attractiveness of the public service have not been sufficient. There is an urgent need for better income and more attractive working conditions, for example with “obvious things such as mobile working and modern hardware”.
A third are retiring
The authors of the study are also certain that the state must take massive countermeasures so that it does not gradually run out of workers. After all, around 1.5 million people will retire for reasons of age by 2030 – that’s almost a third of all employees.
Björn Münstermann, who manages the support of the public sector in Germany and Austria for the consulting firm McKinsey, sees failures in some areas to prevent staff shortages.
He suggests that the civil service should be more active in promoting itself as an employer in schools and universities. In addition, like DBB boss Silberbach, he calls for more flexible working models in order to make the public service more attractive.
The problem: In the coming years, the state will increasingly compete with the private sector for the best skilled workers. So far, the offices have been left almost empty-handed, especially when it comes to courting the coveted IT specialists.
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According to McKinsey, only three percent of IT professionals subject to social security contributions work in the public sector. If this rate were to continue, of the approximately 26,000 graduates in IT professions each year, just 800 would go into the public sector – a huge discrepancy with actual demand.
Study recommends recruiting as in private companies
DBB boss Silberbach warns: “If young IT specialists see how the state’s digitization projects repeatedly fail due to infighting and encrusted structures, they will not opt for public service.”
The McKinsey study therefore comes to the conclusion that the state should orient its recruitment policy towards private companies in some respects. Some DAX companies, for example, identify important moments in their employees’ careers that have a particular impact on how work is evaluated.
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These include, for example, the first days of work or appraisal interviews. These “moments of truth” should be specifically focused on and improved upon. The recruitment process also urgently needs to be accelerated.
“If you were to recognize such a huge challenge in the private sector, you would make it a matter for the board of directors,” says McKinsey expert Münstermann. He therefore also calls for a central authority in the state that “could ensure coordination across authorities and departments on personnel issues”.
At the moment, however, there is no such all-encompassing personnel strategy. But Julia Klier, partner at McKinsey and co-author of the study, still sees a positive trend. “In the meantime, the word strategic personnel planning is appearing more and more frequently in the ministries and authorities,” she observes. The realization that the shortage of skilled workers is a problem that also weakens Germany as a business location is now there.
According to the authors of the study, migration from abroad is also needed to strengthen Germany as a business location in international competition. “Yes,” McKinsey expert Münstermann points out, “we also have to convince the immigrants that the public sector is an attractive employer.” , continue to lose touch.
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