Skilled worker shortage: Tap into underutilised potential through D&I

The German labour market is heading towards serious problems. This is the opinion of a majority of the German population and 42% of business owners are currently worrying as well about the looming skilled workers’ shortage. The German Chamber for Industry and Commerce (DIHK) interviewed German companies of all sizes for a labour market report, drawing a very detailed picture based on 20,000 filled in questionnaires. The report states that in particular the potential of women and older people are neglected; the same applies for about 1.4 million young Germans without a professional qualification and also for many foreign specialists. One solution to address skill shortages would be to tap into those underutilised potentials, the report says.

A majority of all German SMEs is complaining about vacant positions and skill shortages and the lost revenue due to this phenomenon is estimated to €31 billion. Nevertheless, the pool of potential workers is large: According to the federal German government only 50% of the people in their sixties are working, and 50% of women is working only part-time. In addition, foreign specialists and Germans with a so-called migrant background are often having hard times to find a job, even if they are well educated.

In the UK the same waste of potential can be observed. Even though the British society is rich of diverse talents, the leaders of its biggest companies are predominantly male and white. The Green Park Group recently launched an analysis of gender and ethno-cultural diversity across the 10,000 most senior employees within the FTSE 100. Among the Top 3 positions within those companies (Chair, CEO, CFO) less than five per cent are female and only ten out of 289 posts are held by ethnic minorities! The next layers (Top 20) within the companies are a little more diverse, every fifth executive within this group is female. Green Park is also observing a tremendous neglect of migrant potential as a majority of FTSE 100 companies does not employ a Top-20 leader with an ethnic minority background at all.

The German labour market report recommends the expansion of dual education programmes and especially further training programmes for older employees and professionals with migrant background.