Both the German population and the number of students studying technical fields such as science and engineering are declining. To maintain its industrial dominance, the nation will require foreign engineers. Robert Weiss grew up in Germany, where he assisted his father with auto repairs. It was one of the reasons he decided to pursue a career in engineering, working in Germany’s rail and auto industries before entering academia.
Today, as the dean of the faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, he is reluctant to confirm that students’ interest in technical fields is not as strong as it once was. He told DW that there were an average of seven applicants for each position in his program five years ago. This number has decreased to three today.
“That is truly terrifying,” he exclaimed. “This is an issue for the university. We want our programs to be as comprehensive as possible and [train] all of these engineers. But this also affects the industry, Germany, and the economy if there are not enough engineers employed.
Green transformation at risk
German engineering is renowned for its quality and innovation on a global scale. However, this brand is threatened. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to a recent study by the nation’s federal statistics agency, the number of students beginning university degrees in STEM fields (shorthand for science, technology, engineering, and math) decreased by 6% in just one year.
Numerous nations face a shortage of skilled labor at present, but Germany has been affected on two fronts. Many engineers and technical specialists are now entering retirement as the population of the country declines. Simultaneously, Germany must accomplish a massive digital and green transformation, which will require an army of IT, engineering, and other advanced technical workers.
According to a report published by the German Economic Institute (IW) in Cologne in April 2022, the country lacked around 320,000 STEM specialists. The most recent enrollment numbers indicate that the situation is not improving.
The shortage will hit productivity
The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) wrote in a plan aimed at boosting interest in STEM subjects, “STEM subjects do not yet receive the recognition commensurate with their economic and social significance.”
Axel Plünnecke, leader of the cluster “Education, Innovation, Migration” at the IW Institute, told DW that the pressure to innovate is enormous right now, and that’s why you need these technical experts. The question is whether Germany can obtain enough of them.
“If it can’t, then its competitiveness will suffer and companies will be forced to relocate to other regions,” he said.
The auto industry is less attractive
Some factors weigh on workers’ interest in STEM fields. Population decline is part of the story, as is turmoil in the country’s renowned automotive industry, where prominent employers such as BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz have recently struggled to make the transition to electric engines.
People are uncertain about their desire to work in that field, according to Weiss. “The automobile may not be as fascinating as it once was.”
In addition, demographic changes play a role. Plünnecke stated that while the native population is declining, the proportion of school students immigrating to Germany with their families has increased over the past decade. The STEM issue is hampered by the language barrier and inadequate support for these students’ needs.
“This is unquestionably a failure of educational policy,” Plünnecke said, noting that children from other countries are frequently well-equipped to succeed in STEM subjects. “On a global scale, scientific laws and programming languages are identical. If you already possess the knowledge, applying it is simple.”
The invisible immigrants
So how can we fill the void? Weiss stated that the industry will have to seek out foreign engineers from other nations.
And to a certain extent, it already is. According to Plünnecke, recent German immigration in technical fields has been exceptionally high. During the past decade, the number of Indian passport holders working in engineering or computer science in Germany increased by 558 percent, from 3,800 to 25,000.
“At that point, you can say that something is happening,” Plünecke stated. It’s more than people realize, he adds because public discussions about migration in Germany tend to center on conflict-affected refugees.
Global competition for labor
Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco specialists are also becoming increasingly common in Germany. In November, however, Germany’s labor minister Hubertus Heil stated that the notion that “all skilled workers in the world” desire to come to Germany is “unfortunately an illusion.”
The government is currently attempting to streamline the skilled labor immigration process. Due to bureaucratic obstacles and a lack of digitalization, obtaining the right to work in a country can take months.
For manufacturers, this delay is a nightmare. The lack of necessary labor can result in increased pressure on existing staff, decreased productivity, and the possibility of losing business to increasingly competitive competitors such as China, which has invested heavily in expanding its machine industry. And there is always the possibility that native talent will seek employment elsewhere. Plünnecke stated that Germany must be attractive for this reason. “Because individuals also depart. Other regions of the globe are also beautiful.”
Benefits of Urgent Engineering Jobs in Germany from Other Countries
- Strong Demand: Consistently high demand exists for qualified professionals in the discipline of engineering. Numerous industries, including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and construction, require engineers.
- Job Protection: Many engineers appreciate job security and stability due to the high demand for their expertise. Engineering positions are less susceptible to economic downturns than other occupations.
- Competitive Compensation: Frequently, engineering positions offer competitive salaries and benefit packages. Engineers typically earn above-average salaries relative to many other occupations.
- Diverse Job Possibilities: Individuals can choose a field that corresponds with their interests and skillsets by pursuing a variety of career paths and specializations in engineering. Civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and software engineering are examples.
- Problem Resolution: Engineers are by nature problem-solvers. They work on complex problems and come up with inventive solutions, which can be intellectually stimulating and satisfying.
- Innovativeness and Originality: Engineering requires inventiveness and originality in designing, developing, and enhancing products, systems, and procedures. Engineers have the opportunity to develop something innovative and consequential.
- Global Possibilities: Engineers frequently have the opportunity to work on international projects, collaborate with professionals from diverse backgrounds, and even pursue opportunities abroad, as engineering is a globally recognized profession.
- Continuous Education: Engineering is a field that is continually evolving due to technological and scientific advancements. Throughout their careers, engineers have the opportunity for continuous learning and talent development.
- Participation in Society: Many engineering initiatives directly benefit society by enhancing infrastructure, healthcare, technology, and environmental concerns. Engineers frequently take pride in their contributions to society.
- Work Diversity: It is possible to work in research and development labs or supervise construction projects as an engineer. This diversity enables engineers to find positions that align with their interests and professional objectives.
- Collaborative work: Engineers frequently collaborate with multidisciplinary teams comprised of scientists, designers, and business professionals, promoting a dynamic and stimulating workplace.
- Implications for the Future: Engineers are capable of shaping the future of technology, industry, and society. Their contributions can have an enduring effect on the world.
- Professional Achievement: Engineering is a respected profession, and engineers frequently receive awards, certifications, and honors for their contributions.
- The entrepreneur: Numerous engineers have the skills and knowledge to launch their businesses or ventures, fostering entrepreneurialism and innovation.
Is Germany in need of Engineers?
Engineers have numerous employment opportunities in Germany, as their qualifications are in high demand across a variety of economic sectors. Research and development (R&D) has a large number of open positions for engineers in higher-level positions. Additionally, the following occupations are in high demand: Automation engineering
Which Engineers are in demand in Germany?
In Germany, all engineering disciplines are in high demand, particularly mechanical, software, automotive, and electrical engineering.
Can a foreign engineer work in Germany?
Then you have two options. You can either apply for a visa for research or the EU Blue Card for this purpose. You should therefore check the requirements for each residence title and whether you fulfill them.