Economy & Politics

Study: How the shortage of skilled workers is noticeable in terms of salary

In the care professions in particular, the demand for skilled workers has increased in recent years

Skilled workers are wanted in Germany – and have been for years. In industries where trained personnel is particularly rare, the companies concerned therefore often – but not automatically – rely on particularly good pay, shows a study by the employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW).

For 1,286 occupations, the authors examine how wages developed between 2013 and 2019 in view of vacancies. In industries with high demand for skilled workers, applicants were offered higher salaries. Between 2013 and 2019, wages rose by an average of 2.4 percent overall. In sectors with a shortage of personnel, the salary was another 0.6 percent higher than in professions without personnel worries.

Highly qualified people in particular benefited more from the development than skilled workers with an apprenticeship. The study authors attribute this to the fact that highly qualified people are more willing to move to a well-paid job. That in turn strengthens one’s own negotiating position and increases the pressure on the future employer.

Here wages rose at an above-average rate

There are clear differences within the sectors: if the wage advantage in sectors with a shortage of staff and high demand for skilled workers rose from 7.9 to 9.3 percent, there were even higher wage increases in some areas. For the ten professions with the largest percentage of vacant positions in 2013, the average wage increase is 15.5 percent.

The wages rose the most in care for the elderly. The salary here grew by almost a quarter from 2013 to 2019 – from 2,440 euros to 3,032 euros per month. In health and nursing, the average wage rose by more than a fifth. Road builders were able to look forward to a salary increase of almost a fifth in the same period; Employees in public administration over an increase of 18 percent.

However, a shortage of staff and great demand for skilled workers are no guarantees for higher wages. The study cites train drivers and fire protection specialists as an example. Here, salaries rose at a below-average rate compared to other industries.

The wages of podiatrists, cosmetic specialists and dentists, on the other hand, rose by around 30 percent each – without any bottlenecks among specialists. “The wage development does not always match the skilled worker situation,” says study author Alexander Burstedde. “Company wage setting should therefore be more oriented towards bottlenecks.”


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