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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.3 Skills forecasting

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Forecasting system(s)
  2. Skills development

Forecasting system(s)

Statements on the future supply of jobs and demand for labour are issued on the basis of the forecasting systems of various research institutions and are important for government action. These analyses are based on different data surveys and collection methods and are published in the form of reports, expert assessments or studies.

The Vocational Education and Training Report (Berufsbildungsbericht) published every May by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) plays a key role in these systems. It describes the current situation on the training market and stimulates discussions in the public about vocational education and training. The Vocational Education and Training Report is supplemented by the data report (Datenreport zum Berufsbildungsbericht) issued annually by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), which usually appears at the same time as the Vocational Education and Training Report. It provides a wealth of additional information and analyses of the development of vocational education.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS) (cf. Chapter 3.2) is responsible for the labour market and labour market forecasts. BMAS complements the federal government's skilled labour concept with a labour monitoring programme (Arbeitskräftemonitoring). It forecasts supply and demand for different sectors, regions and qualifications in a digitalised work environment for the following ten to 20 years. It is conducted on behalf of BMAS by the Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, BIBB) and the Institute of Economic Structures Research (Gesellschaft für Wirtschaftliche Strukturforschung, GWS). It makes updates and adjustments to current developments at regular intervals. The latest version can be downloaded from BMAS website.

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) surveys the skilled labour situation in Germany every six months. Its labour market monitor (Arbeitsmarktmonitor) analyses regional labour market structures. It contains data on occupations, industries, the labour market and on demographic changes broken down by region. This helps identify the opportunities and risks of the labour market. The BA also produces a six-monthly analysis of the skilled labour shortage (Fachkräfteengpassanalyse). This analysis is the main source of input for an overview of professions in which non-German-born skilled workers could be employed in Germany (known as a whitelist, or "Positivliste") in accordance with Section 6 of the Employment Regulation (Beschäftigungsverordnung). In its monthly report on the labour and training market, the BA compiles statistics on economic developments, and on the labour and training market.

The QuBe project – qualifications and occupations in the future (Qualifikation und Beruf in der Zukunft, QuBe) is carried out under the joint leadership of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) in collaboration with the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS). It forecasts probable long-term job supply and demand developments according to qualification and occupation. The BIBB's Training Panel (Betriebspanel zu Qualifizierung und Kompetenzentwicklung) is a representative survey of companies in Germany which has been repeated annually since 2011. It gathers information about structures, developments and the relationship between initial and continuing vocational training in companies to identify trends in labour demand.

The Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB), which is a special department of the Federal Employment Agency, carries out labour market research and thus creates a basis for empirically founded labour market policies. It publishes the labour market trend barometer (Arbeitsmarktbarometer). Based on the Federal Employment Agency's monthly survey of all local employment agencies, the total value of the IAB labour market barometer is created. This provides an outlook on the overall development of the labour market in Germany.

Chapter 3.2 "Administration and governance" contains information on cross-sectoral cooperation in the field of employment.

Skills development

The findings of the labour market forecasts are used to customise further training schemes for young people and improve existing programmes.

Formal education

Given the current demand for skilled labour in the field of science and technology, targeted measures are needed to encourage children and young people to develop an interest in mathematics and science from an early age, to establish a stronger practical relevance and to attract teachers to STEM subjects. The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz) has repeatedly addressed the issue of developing STEM teaching to develop and introduce educational standards in these subjects across Germany. It has identified challenging and realisable educational goals in the form of skills and competences. Educational institutions are called upon to develop and use appropriate teaching concepts, but also to develop and implement learning and experience opportunities outside the classroom. In the federal states, they cooperate closely with numerous non-school partners. The relevant agreements of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs document the scope and requirements of STEM curricula.

Digital career choice app

Portfolio tools or career choice passes are standard tools in career orientation processes at schools or during the transition phase between school and training or work. An evaluation commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) has shown that the career choice pass (Berufswahlpass, BWP) needs to be aligned to the changing learning and information requirements of young people, and that a new, digital product would be useful.

In light of this, the Berufswahlpass 4.0 project was launched in October 2018. Its aim is to develop an internet-based e-portfolio which can be used on mobile and stationary devices throughout Germany and made available for use in the respective federal states. This digital career choice app (Berufswahlapp) is being launched in various federal states in the 2022/2023 academic year. Pupils can use the digital learning tool to document, research, communicate and reflect upon as well as plan and organise their vocational orientation. The app reflects young people's real-life environments. It draws on the benefits of digitalisation and increases the attractiveness of the portfolio tool compared to paper-based alternatives.

The new BWP 4.0 was developed by a project consortium consisting of the following institutions: the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung), the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), the federal working group career choice app (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Berufswahlpass), the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and the Gesellschaft für innovative Beschäftigungsförderung NRW. The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung).

Support services for disadvantaged young people

Young people who drop out of school or leave school early without or with only a poor formal qualification have the opportunity to start an apprenticeship as part of special support schemes offered by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), such as introductory training (Einstiegsqualifizierung) or training-related assistance (Ausbildungsbegleitende Hilfen). Many companies also run their own programmes to support apprentices in their formal training. In the craft trades, efforts are currently being made to encourage young refugees to begin an apprenticeship. For more information on the promotion of traineeships and apprenticeship places, see Chapter 3.5 "Employment & Entrepreneurship: Traineeships and apprenticeships

Non-formal learning

The purpose of youth work is to give young people access to activities that promote their development. These activities should relate to young people's interests, be chosen and shaped by young people themselves and they should empower young people to make their own choices and assume social responsibility. Youth work activities also help young people develop entrepreneurial and employability skills. Section 11 of Book 8 of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB VIII) is the statutory basis for these activities.

Media initiatives/campaigns

Given the urgent need for qualified skilled labour and the problems small and medium-sized businesses face when trying to fill vacant apprenticeship places, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) and responsible ministries of the federal states are prioritising support for the dual vocational training system. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research's information campaign entitled Du + Deine Ausbildung = Praktisch unschlagbar! (You + Your Apprenticeship = Practically unbeatable) aims to attract young people to vocational training and actively promote the dual system.