An occupation is referred to as a shortage occupation or bottleneck occupation if there are not enough employees available to fill vacancies in this occupation. It is then difficult for employers to find suitable applicants for vacancies. There can also be shortage occupations in the liberal professions . The bottlenecks and the reasons for the emergence of a shortage of skilled workers are historical and differ in the different countries. While in Central Europe in the 1950s and 1960s there was mainly a shortage in areas that involved hard physical work, for example in mining or in the steel industry , automation and technical progress are increasing the number of highly qualified and specialized jobs . which cannot be occupied. Also affected are areas in which physically heavy work still has to be done, but humans cannot be replaced by automation, such as nursing .
The main reasons for the current shortage are special skills that a job requires, for example in the field of mechatronics or the IT industry , in long training periods, for example with specialist doctors , or in poor pay , something in the area of care for the elderly and the sick or in some of the other service occupations . As countermeasures, attempts are being made, on the one hand, to make the professions concerned better known and to create special incentives for the corresponding training courses or courses in the state. Just as guest workers and labor migration were recruited in the 1950s and 1960s, the countries concerned have also been making it easier for trained workers from abroad or so-called third countries to move in for a number of years and are actively seeking suitable skilled workers .
Situation in Germany
In Germany, the legislature in 2012 anchored gainful employment as a separate purpose of residence in the Residence Act in order to make it clear that “foreign workers' access to the German labor market is one of the cornerstones of German immigration policy.” In order to overcome the shortage of skilled workers, laws were created that explicitly provide an incentive offer qualified academics and skilled workers from non- EU countries to apply for vacancies in Germany. In accordance with the requirements of the EU directive on the entry and residence of third-country nationals in order to pursue a highly qualified job, the EU Blue Card was created on August 1, 2012 as the central residence permit . Through it, academic specialists from countries outside the EU can gain simplified access to the German labor market. The lower salary limit is 40,560 euros (2018) instead of the generally required 52,000 euros (as of 2018). An unlimited settlement permit can be obtained after three years, or after two years with good language skills. The relocation of the family is also made easier in the context of these regulations.
In addition, according to the new employment ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs that came into force in summer 2013 , qualified skilled workers in training occupations can receive a residence and work permit in Germany if there is a shortage in the relevant industry. The current shortage occupations are published in a "positive list". The prerequisite is that the degree is equivalent to a corresponding German degree. The federal government provides an information portal for comparability. There is no fixed salary limit here, but the pay should correspond to that of German employees.
A special feature is the increasing number of apprenticeships in shortage occupations, which increased by a third between 2011 and 2019.
The so-called “positive list” of shortage occupations or “skilled labor shortage analysis” includes all occupational groups. It is prepared twice a year by the Federal Employment Agency . For all professions listed there, the rule applies that no priority test is required when employing a foreign worker . The list is checked twice a month, and changes that have been confirmed twice are noted accordingly. A distinction is made between “skilled workers” and “specialists” in the requirement level. The requirement level of a “skilled worker” usually corresponds to at least two years of vocational training or a comparable qualification with the corresponding qualifications. The level of requirements of so-called "specialists" is usually given by a master craftsman's examination , technical training or an equivalent technical college or university degree.
Situation in Austria
In Austria, shortage occupations are announced annually by the Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection in cooperation with the Federal Minister of Economics and Labor in the skilled workers regulation . They are determined on the basis of current analyzes of the labor market in Austria. Applications for the Red-White-Red Card can be made for the professions listed in this ordinance . The model sees itself as a criteria-based immigration model. It is often people with technical professions and caregivers who are sought in Austria in this way.
Situation in Switzerland
In Switzerland, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) commissioned a study on the labor shortage in Switzerland. It was carried out by the Basel Economic Consulting Company (BSS) and published in April 2014. To classify shortage occupations, four criteria were considered in this study: the proportion of employees in an occupation who have the qualifications specifically intended for this (degree of coverage), immigration , the unemployment rate and the rate of vacancies. With at least two significantly above average values, this led to the classification of a "suspected deficiency". Employment growth over the past 10 years was determined as a further criterion. Mentioned in this study for Switzerland in addition to the technical and health professions and occupations in the administrative , commercial and banking professions and those in tourism . Despite the increased level of training, the majority of the identified shortage occupations have an above-average qualification level.
Another study carried out by the University of Basel in 2016 on the labor and skilled labor requirements in Switzerland up to 2060 comes to the conclusion that this skilled labor shortage can only be countered with a combination of training initiatives and immigration.
- Information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior on labor migration (as of 2016)
- EU Blue Card. BAMF, November 14, 2019, accessed on January 26, 2020 .
- Positive list of the Federal Employment Agency from September 2019 . Retrieved January 26, 2020
- Information the federal government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications
- "DGB calls for targeted training of refugees for shortage occupations." December 27, 2015, accessed on September 16, 2016
- Barbara Gillmann: Training places in shortage occupations have risen by a third since 2011 . Handelsblatt dated September 10, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2020
- Information on employment in Germany (Federal Employment Agency)
- Employment of foreign workers in shortage occupations at the association of German temporary employment agencies
- Skilled workers in shortage occupations
- The Red-White-Red Card: Skilled workers in shortage occupations
- Shortage of occupations in Austria
- Hansueli Schöchli “ Where specialists are scarce. “ In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of April 16, 2014, accessed on September 18, 2016
- Mathias Ohanian: “ We are short of half a million workers ” in the Handelszeitung on July 7, 2014, accessed on September 18, 2016
- Conny Wunsch and Employees: Switzerland's Labor and Skilled Labor Requirements by 2060. Accessed on January 26, 2020