An element of growing concern for German business is a shrinking labor force, especially with
respect to skilled labor, due to an aging population. Official forecasts predict that in 2030, the
working age population, currently around 50 million, will drop to 43 million resulting in an
overall shortage of labor. Labor bottlenecks are already a reality in certain industries,
occupations, and regions.
According to the Federal Employment Agency, doctors, medical and
geriatric nurses and mechanical, automotive and electrical engineers as well as IT professionals
are in short supply. The government has begun to enhance its efforts to ensure an adequate labor
supply by improving programs to integrate women, elderly, young people as well as foreign
nationals into the labor market. The government has also facilitated the immigration of qualified
The Euro crisis has led to a redirection of the migration flows, especially those from Eastern and
Southern European countries to Germany. The net migration rate of foreigners (total number of
immigrants minus the number of emigrants) rose from a 2008 low of 10,700 to almost 400,000 in
2012, the highest level since 1993. This high influx is partly due to the positive labor market
situation in Germany and the comparatively high unemployment in other European countries
such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.