Hands-on: How can young people be inspired to take up an apprenticeship?

The dual education system in Germany not only enjoys a high reputation worldwide, but also serves as a key to the professional world. However, this career entry seems to be becoming increasingly unattractive, and there is a clear oversupply of appren-ticeships. Currently, there are 1.19 positions per applicant (Federal Agency of Em-ployment 2021). Companies are increasingly complaining about difficulties in finding suitable trainees, a situation that was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic (Freuding und Garnitz 2021; Brandt 2020).

But even beyond apprenticeships, many companies in Germany have problems find-ing qualified specialists. This shortage of skilled workers has increased significantly in recent years and is now affecting large parts of the economy. Occupations in the skilled trades, the metal and electrical industries, and the STEM sector are particular-ly affected. The care sector and the hospitality industry are also experiencing a wide-spread shortage of skilled workers. One reason for this is the increasing aging of soci-ety (Marjenko et al. 2021, KfW Research 2021).

To counteract these problems, there are numerous proposed solutions that are al-ready being applied in everyday school life: They include school-based career orien-tation programs, such as company tours, lectures, or taster weeks (Flake et al. 2017). These provide an opportunity for students to get to know companies and vice versa. In addition, internships can help to concretize career ideas. As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a broader range of digital information – such as virtual training exchanges, digital speed dating and online training fairs – also came to the fore (DIHK 2021). Since both parents and teachers have a major influence on young peoples’ career choices, companies should also actively involve them.

There are already numerous considerations and strategies to counter the shortage of skilled workers and, in particular, to make training more attractive. Are these efforts reaching young people?
What additional measures do pupils want in order to obtain a comprehensive over-view and make a suitable choice? And how can these implementations contribute to counteracting the shortage of skilled workers (in the long term)? These problems should be worked out together with the pupils – if necessary with the help of surveys – in order to give them an easier start into the professional world.

Bundesagentur für Arbeit (2021): „Der Ausbildungsmarkt“, verfügbar unter https://statistik.arbeitsagentur.de/SiteGlobals/Forms/Suche/Einzelheftsuche_Formular.html?nn=1459822&topic_f=ausb-ausbildungsstellenmarkt-mit-zkt, abgerufen am 27.09.2021.

Brandt, P. (2020): „Corona und die Ausbildungssituation“, ifo Schnelldienst 73 (12), 44-45, verfügbar unter https://www.ifo.de/publikationen/2020/aufsatz-zeitschrift/corona-und-die-ausbildungssituation.

Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2021): „Fachkräfte für Deutschland“, verfügbar unter https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Dossier/fachkraeftesicherung.html, aufgerufen am 30.09.2021.

DIHK (2021): „Zwischen Azubi-Speed-Dating und virtueller Ausbildungsmesse: Bundesweite IHK-Aktionen für erfolgreiche Ausbildungen – trotz Corona“, verfügbar unter: https://www.dihk.de/de/aktuelles-und-presse/coronavirus/ausbildung-waehrend-der-corona-pandemie/zwischen-azubi-speed-dating-und-virtueller-ausbildungsmesse-52738, aufgerufen am 27.09.2021.

Flake et al. (2017) <>, verfügbar unter: https://www.kofa.de/fileadmin/Dateiliste/Publikationen/Studien/Ausbildung_oder_Studium.pdf, aufgerufen am 20.09.2021.

Flake et al. (2017) <von Abiturienten für Ausbildung oder Studium>>, verfügbar unter: https://www.iwkoeln.de/fileadmin/publikationen/2017/364050/IW-Trends_2017-03-06_Flake_Malin_Risius.pdf, aufgerufen am 20.09.2021.

Freuding, J. und Garnitz, J. (2021): „Ausbilden während der Covid-19-Pandemie – Hürden für Betriebe und Auszubildende“, ifo Schnelldienst 74 (10), verfügbar unter: https://www.ifo.de/DocDL/sd-2021-10-freuding-garnitz-corona-ausbildung.pdf , aufgerufen am 26.10.2021.

KfW Research (2021): „KfW-ifo Fachkräftebarometer”, verfügbar unter: https://www.kfw.de/%c3%9cber-die-KfW/Service/Download-Center/Konzernthemen/Research/Indikatoren/KfW-ifo-Fachkr%c3%a4ftebarometer/, aufgerufen am 21.09.2021.

Marjenko, A., Müller, M., Sauer, S. (2021): „Das KfW-ifo-Fachkräftebarometer: Jedes fünfte deutsche Unternehmen wird derzeit durch Fachkräftemangel beeinträchtigt“, ifo Schnelldienst 74 (04), 57-59, verfügbar unter: https://www.ifo.de/publikationen/2021/aufsatz-zeitschrift/das-kfw-ifo-fachkraeftebarometer-jedes-fuenfte-deutsche, aufgerufen am 21.09.2021.

SZ (2021) <>, verfügbar unter: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/karriere/ausbildung-corona-krise-trifft-ausbildungsmarkt-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-210811-99-800587, aufgerufen am 21.09.2021.

Scientific Partner

Supporting Researchers

Julia Freuding

Photo: ifo Institut

Julia Freuding is a specialist at the ifo Institute’s Center for Macroeconomics and Surveys. As an economist, her work includes the ifo business survey with a focus on industry. She also deals with personnel policy issues.

Johanna Garnitz

Photo: ifo Institut

Johanna Garnitz has been an expert consultant at the Ifo Institute’s Centre for Macroeconomics and Surveys since 2010. As a business economist, her focus is on expert and company surveys. She is currently in charge of surveys for the Ifo Personnel Manager Survey and other business surveys.

Raffaela Seitz

Photo: ifo Institut

Wilfried Rickels heads the research area „Environment and Natural Resources“ at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. He is investigating how the sustainable use of the ocean can be measured, especially in the context of the global Sustainable Development Goals, and what role and significance negative CO2 emission technologies and solar radiation management have for (optimal) climate protection.

Stefan Sauer

Photo: ifo Institut

Stefan Sauer works at the ifo Institute’s Center for Macroeconomics and Surveys. He holds a degree in statistics and his work focuses on the ifo business surveys. Short-time work and the shortage of skilled workers are among the topics of his economic analyses.