Which is the oldest engineering branch

VDI warns: Germany is facing a massive shortage of engineers

From 2020 onwards, the problem of obsolescence could have the engineering industries fully under control. In the future, up to 50,000 engineers could be leaving each year and at the same time 40,000 new engineering positions would be required due to the economic situation. But the youngsters lag far behind what is needed.

According to a calculation by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), there were a total of 63,700 vacant jobs for engineers in Germany at the beginning of the year. The front runner in engineering employment in Germany is the region around Dresden with 78 engineers per 1000 employees.

Photo: dpa / Stephanie Pilick

Germany has the oldest engineers in Europe. According to a new VDI study, every fifth person is over 55 years old. Conversely, only 18 percent of engineers in Germany are younger than 34 years. Both values ​​bring up the rear in a European comparison.

VDI boss: "A time bomb is ticking"

Udo Ungeheuer, President of the Association of German Engineers (VDI), assumes that the problem will become increasingly acute. "From 2020 we will have the problem of obsolescence fully under control," said Ungeheuer at the Hanover Fair.

The VDI, however, does not come up with trickery, but underpins these statements with concrete values. In the future, German industry will need a further 90,000 engineers year after year. Around half of this need is due to active engineers reaching the age limit.

The other half of the engineering demand is due to the sustained strong and rapid technical progress, which requires more and more engineers - and by no means only in industry. Banks and insurance companies in particular are trying to recruit engineers just as much as industry, since more and more technical and economic relationships can no longer be assessed without a solid engineering education.

In addition, engineers are advancing in industrial areas such as marketing and sales, because potential buyers attach particular importance to the advice of well-trained technicians.

The number of engineers required has been increasing for years

From 2005 to 2011 the number of employed engineers in Germany rose by 20 percent to 1.66 million. The number of female engineers increased by 34 percent to 275,000, even significantly disproportionately.

According to a calculation by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), there were a total of 63,700 vacant jobs for engineers in Germany at the beginning of the current year. At the same time, 27,200 engineers were registered as unemployed. Frank Ferchau, managing partner of the engineering service provider Ferchau, cites regional conditions and the different expectations of job seekers and employers as the main reasons why there are unemployed engineers at all.

The front runner in engineering employment in Germany is the region around Dresden with 78 engineers per 1000 employees. The regions of Munich and Central Thuringia follow closely behind.

When it comes to engineering training, it looks very different. Here, the Aachen region leads the way with 171 engineering degrees per 1000 employees. The high demand for engineers in Germany and the particularly good working conditions in many cases have led to a strong immigration movement over the years. 239,000 engineers who work in Germany today were born abroad and later immigrated. 139,000 have received their engineering training abroad.

A contribution from:

  • Peter Odrich

    Peter Odrich studied business administration with a focus on transport companies. After 28 years as a business editor for a German national daily newspaper with long activity in East Asia, he returned to his native Great Britain. Since then he has reported freelance for newspapers and technical information services in various countries. Transport issues, metals and East Asian issues are in the foreground.