The head of Germany's labor agency has said the country will face a massive shortage of qualified workers in the coming years, predicting that some 2 million of them will have to be acquired from abroad.
Weise says Germany faces a shortage of skilled workers
Frank Jürgen Weise, the head of Germany's Federal Labor Agency, told the daily Die Welt in an interview published on Saturday, May 14, that the country needs around 2 million foreign qualified workers to avoid an impending skilled worker shortage.
"Without the help of targeted immigration, we won't be able to solve this problem," Weise was quoted as saying.
The labor expert said that by 2025 Germany would be facing a shortage of some 7 million skilled workers throughout all industries and that some fields and regions were already reporting deficits.
"We will only be able to cover half of these needs through the mobilization of skilled workers within Germany," adding that a worst-case scenario would see German companies leave the country to find qualified workers elsewhere.
"We need foreign workers so that our economy can continue to grow," Weise said after it was announced on Thursday that German economic output was far higher than expected in the first quarter of this year.
Recognition of credentials
Some 500,000 engineers are already lacking in Germany
The agency's projection follows a push by the German government to facilitate the process of authorizing foreign workers' credentials in the country.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved legislation in March to recognize foreign academic qualifications, making it easier for non-EU professionals to find employment in Germany.
"We're competing worldwide for the best brains," said Education Minister Annette Schavan in reference to the country's shortage of high-skilled workers.
At present, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce DIHK estimates that Germany has a shortage of around 500,000 engineers and master craftsmen.
The physicians' association Marburger Bund said Germany currently lacks 12,000 doctors at hospitals and 3,000 general practitioners.
Author: Gabriel Borrud (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Toma Tasovac