Many experts credit the government-funded short-time work program for limiting job losses
during the global financial and economic crisis. Other factors, such as moderate wage increases
in recent years, flexibility in bargaining agreements, numerous company-level alliances to retain
jobs, the option of offering more flexible forms of employment and employers’ willingness to
accept higher unit labor costs, have also contributed to the stability of the German labor market.
The German labor force is generally highly skilled, well-educated, disciplined, and productive.
The German vocational training system has gained international interest in recent years, as it is
seen as a reason for Germany’s highly skilled workforce and its low youth unemployment rate.
Germany’s so-called “dual vocational training,” a combination of theoretical courses taught at
schools and practical application in the workplace, teaches and develops many of the skills
employers need. There are almost 500,000 apprenticeship positions in more than 340 recognized
training professions in all sectors of the economy and public administration available each year.
Around 60% of every age group chooses an apprenticeship.
The government is promoting
apprenticeship opportunities, in partnership with industry, through the “National Pact to Promote
Training and Young Skilled Workers.”