Professionals from the technology industries gathered in the northern German city of Hanover on Monday, Dec. 10, to discuss new developments in their sector. They were treated to a number of unplanned debates focussing on the labor market restrictions that many see as hampering progress in the fields.
With around 43,000 vacant posts, high-tech German companies have called for immigration rules to be eased so they can search for candidates outside the European Union, especially in Asia.
Sectors suffering from costly shortages
August-Wilhelm Scheer, president of the sector federation Bitkom, said that losses can be calculated in billions from the inability to fill high-skilled jobs.
"Some companies have lost entire projects" because they could not find the appropriate personnel, he said.
Germany's key industrial sector is said to lack around 50,000 engineers. A government study has determined that overall labor shortages cost Germany, the biggest euro-zone economy, around 18.5 billion euros ($27.2 billion) per year.
But Economy Minister Michael Glos ruled out calls for easing rules on hiring foreign workers.
"The next priority is the qualifications of our own workforce," Gloss said while expressing his opposition to opening "the doors to immigration."