Qualified specialists urgently required: Shortages in 183 occupations

•Number of bottleneck occupations falls slightly from 200 to 183 occupations 
•Shortages in roughly one in seven skilled occupations 
•Half of registered job vacancies are in bottleneck occupations 
•Only one in four unemployed skilled workers is seeking a job in a bottleneck occupation

04 Jun 2024 | Press release no.25

The number of bottleneck occupations remains at a very high level

Although the number of bottleneck occupations fell slightly in 2023, it remains at a very high level. Such were the findings of the BA’s annual skilled labour shortage analysis published today. There are bottlenecks in filling job vacancies in 183 of the approximately 1,200 occupations analysed. Despite the fact that this is 17 fewer than last year’s figure, it still means that there is a shortage of skilled labour in one in seven occupations.

“The slight fall in the number of bottleneck occupations isn’t surprising due to the fall in registered job vacancies. But even with the recent rise in unemployment, businesses are often unable to fill job vacancies due to a lack of skilled labour. 
It is important to remember that this is a snapshot, however, and not a long-term trend. Due to demographic developments, large numbers of well-qualified and experienced skilled workers will continue to leave the labour market over the years to come,” emphasises Andrea Nahles, Chair of the Executive Board of the Federal Employment Agency.

In 2023, the occupations with the greatest shortage of skilled workers included nursing and healthcare occupations, jobs in the skilled trades and road haulage, as well as those in the field of childcare and social work. The technical occupations recorded significant shortages in the areas of IT and construction planning. There were also shortages in the food and beverages industry.

New shortage occupations compared with last year include chefs and technical service staff. The shortage of skilled labour in the areas of structural engineering, façade construction and aerospace engineering has eased somewhat.

172 further occupations are not currently classified as having bottlenecks, but are under observation as they could potentially become bottleneck occupations.

One in every two registered job vacancies is in a bottleneck occupation

On average, approximately 493,000 job vacancies subject to social insurance contributions were registered in 2023. Half of these vacancies were aimed at hiring people with training in a bottleneck occupation. Unemployed people, on the other hand, frequently didn’t have any training in bottleneck occupation. Of the skilled workers registered as unemployed, only a quarter were looking for a job in a bottleneck occupation.

The bottleneck analysis once again illustrates the mismatch prevalent in the labour market. On the one hand, many businesses are retaining their well-trained specialists and are continuing to look for new staff as a result of demographic change. On the other hand, there is a risk of unemployment becoming entrenched, especially for people who have insufficient qualifications.

Methodology and interactive analyses

Approximately 1,200 occupational categories are included in the skilled labour shortage analysis and assessed on the basis of six indicators. These include, for example, the time it takes to fill registered vacancies, the occupation-specific unemployment rate and salary developments.

The current skilled labour shortage analysis, a full list of occupations and the indicators are available to download from our statistics portal (available in German).

The corresponding methodological report can be found in the document Engpassanalyse – Methodische Weiterentwicklung (Bottleneck Analysis – Methodological Development) (available in German).