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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.3 Skills forecasting

Last update: 24 March 2021
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  1. Forecasting system(s)
  2. Skills development

Forecasting system(s)

Statements on the supply of jobs and future demand for labour are issued based on forecasts. When issuing their projections, model calculations and forecasts, the various research institutes use a variety of data collection methods. The results of their studies are published, inter alia, in the shape of reports, expertises or studies, such as in the vocational education and training report (Berufsbildungsbericht) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF), which is published annually.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales, BMAS) is in charge of the labour market issues, issues of securing the supply of skilled labour and labour market forecasts. It complements the Federal German Government’s skilled labour scheme (Fachkräftekonzept) with a labour monitoring programme (Arbeitskräftemonitoring) which involves analysing bottlenecks on the labour market by drawing up and publishing labour reports and producing labour market forecasts through to 2030.

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) surveys the skilled labour situation in Germany every six months. The Agency publishes a labour market monitor (Arbeitsmarktmonitor) that analyses regional labour market structures. This helps to recognise the opportunities and risks of the labour market. Arbeitsmarktmonitor contains data on occupations, industries, the labour market and on demographic changes broken down by region. Indicators of a possible shortage of skilled labour include the rate of unemployment among individuals with maths, computer science, science and technology qualifications; those in the healthcare and nursing fields; the number of vacancies in these occupational fields; and the average time it takes to fill a vacancy with a suitably qualified skilled worker.

BA also produces a six-monthly skilled labour shortage analysis. This analysis is the main source of input for the overview of professions in which it is generally possible to employ non-German-born skilled workers (known as a whitelist, or “Positivliste”) in accordance with Section 6 of the Employment Regulation (Beschäftigungsverordnung). The Agency also compiles monthly statistics on the number of available training places as well as the number of unfilled training places and the number of training contracts concluded.

The German Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, BIBB)has numerical modelling for its QuBe project Future occupations and qualifications (Qualifikation und Beruf in der Zukunft) since 2007 (most recently in 2018) to recognise developments that could present training and occupation-related challenges in the future. It analyses current levels, transitions, trends and behaviour patterns in the education system and on the labour market and creates supply and demand projections on the basis of jointly defined occupational fields and data generation. Since 2011, companies in Germany have been surveyed annually for the BIBB Training Panel (BIBB-Qualifizierungspanel). The aim is to get information about structures, developments and the relationships between initial vocational training and continuing vocational training in companies and to identify trends in labour demand in business.

The Institute for Employment Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB) as a special office and research institute of BA performs labour market research that creates the basis for empirically founded labour market policies. The IAB publishes a labour market barometer (Arbeitsmarktbarometer), a set of early indicators that is based on a monthly survey by BA of all local employment agencies. The information they provide on unemployment and employment development is collated and condensed to produce the labour market barometer. It provides an outlook on the overall development of the labour market in Germany and uses a scale of 90 (very poor) to 110 (very good). The score in July 2020 stood at 98.

For information on cross-sectoral cooperation, see the section “Administration and governance” in the Youth Wiki chapter on Employment and Entrepreneurship.

Skills development

The findings of the forecasts allow programmes and schemes for further training to be developed for young people and for existing programmes and schemes to be improved.

Formal education

In connection with the expected demand for skilled labour in the field of science and technology, in 2009 the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz) issued its recommendations on enhancing science and maths education (Empfehlungen zur Stärkung der mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Bildung) in 2009. One of the recommendations is to encourage children and young people to develop an interest in science and mathematics from an early age, to establish greater practical relevance, and to attract teachers to STEM subjects. Since then, curricula in the different German states have been updated and included more STEM subjects and topics. In addition to schemes at all formal education levels, many non-formal measures were and are being implemented to promote science and maths education. Schemes in the federal states Länder to promote STEM subjects.

The quality-centred school development scheme (Qualitätszentrierte Schulentwicklung, QZS) assists schools with quality assurance and quality development measures. A special guideline helps schools to develop effectively and permanently. In addition to practical instructions, the guideline contains a lot of work and information resources for areas that include developing a quality mission, using existing and developing internal evaluation tools, and documenting processes.

For school dropouts, special programmes such as introductory training (Einstiegsqualifizierung) or training-related assistance (Ausbildungsbegleitende Hilfen) are an opportunity to gain a qualification. Many firms run their own programmes to prepare apprentices for formal training. In the craft trades, efforts are currently being made to encourage young refugees to begin an apprenticeship.

Quality assurance in in-company vocational training is safeguarded by existing laws and regulations, such as the Vocational Training Act (Berufsbildungsgesetz), as well as recommendations by the Executive Board (Hauptausschuss) of the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung). The Vocational Training Act sets minimum training standards that under certain circumstances are also applicable to apprentices.

Non-formal learning

The youth work field offers activities of a general, political, social, health-related, cultural, nature-related and technical nature, sports, employment-, school- and family related activities, and international youth work. Through this, it helps young people to develop entrepreneurial and labour market-related skills and abilities. Section 11 of Book 8 of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB VIII) is the statutory basis for these activities. Section 11 requires that young people be given access to youth work activities that encourage their development.

On the role of youth work in entrepreneurial learning in Germany see also Taking the future into their own hands. Youth work and entrepreneurial learning: final report.

Awareness raising initiatives/campaigns

Since qualified skilled labour is scarce and many small and medium-sized businesses are finding it difficult to fill vacant apprenticeship positions, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) has put support for Germany’s dual vocational training system (duale Berufsausbildung) high up on the political agenda. BMBF launched the information campaign You + Your Vocational Training = Practically unbeatable! (Du + Deine Ausbildung = Praktisch unschlagbar!) to attract young people to vocational training and to actively promote the dual system of vocational training and education.

The National Agency Education for Europe (Nationale Agentur Bildung für Europa) at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, BIBB) has launched a social media campaign known as #meinauslandspraktikum. It is designed to inform apprentices, school-leavers and young skilled workers about opportunities to go abroad where they can acquire professional competences and improve their foreign language skills.

For more information on promoting traineeships and apprenticeships, see the Youth Wiki chapter on Employment & Entrepreneurship, specifically the section “Traineeships and apprenticeships