Germany hopes refugees will fill labor gaps

In Germany, one out of four apprentices in vocational training drops out, and there are growing concerns about not having enough graduates to satisfy the demand for labor.

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Germany hopes refugees will fill labor gaps - NewsMavens
Hairdresser at work, Flickr.

Why this story matters:

Rapid growth means the German economy is already struggling with labor shortages in some sectors, and the situation is likely to get worse. Statistics show that 25.8% of apprentices leave before graduating, and the numbers are much higher in low-paid sectors. For example, 50% of security guards quit before they obtain their qualifications.

The trainees set their heart on a profession, but then, faced with the harsh realities of low earnings and "unfavorable working conditions", they leave.

The German Union Federation urges the government to introduce the minimum wage for the apprentices, but no steps have been made in that direction so far. Meanwhile, the German government's main hope is that refugees will provide much-needed workforce.

In 2017, 26,000 refugees applied for apprenticeships, and out of these 9,500 were accepted. However, the fact that there are people willing to sign up for vocational training does not mean the system is fixed. After all, they can still drop out.

care crisis, youth, education, work, migration

Details from the story:

  • The new coalition government has already been asked to legally regulate the minimum wage for apprentices (according to the current coalition agreement, this should come into force in 2020).
  • Low pay is not the only reason for the high drop-out rate. Many apprentices leave because of the low quality of the teaching, as well as bad working conditions and conflicts. Many have also admitted to having unrealistic ideas about their chosen professions.
  • 2017 still saw a growing number of apprentices entering the labor market, but there are still too few to satisfy the demand
  • About 49,000 jobs remain unfilled.
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