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Germany faces unprecedented shortage of electric engineers

Staff Writer | November 13, 2018
The number of electric engineers being trained in Germany is still not sufficient to satisfy market demand, according to a study conducted by the association of electrical engineering and information technology (VDE) on Monday.
Germany power grid
Europe   Demographic change and digital transformation
The study shows that "demographic change and digital transformation" are increasing the shortage of electrical engineers to an "unprecedented level". Over the next ten years, around 100,000 additional electrical engineers will be required in Germany.

"We will have to make an effort to increase the number of electrical engineers through migration," said president of VDE Gunther Kegel on Monday.

According to the study, in order to support the engineering sector, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly looking for engineers from outside Germany.

In addition, employees who have reached pension age should be able to continue to work, Kegel added. "We also have to get some people motivated to work a little longer."

At just below 2.2 percent, the unemployment rate of full time employees in engineering is well below the national average of 3.4 percent in Germany.

According to VDE, a reason why a large number of engineering students quit their studies is that the German educational system does not prepare them sufficiently for university.

"The basic education in mathematics is too bad. One has to catch up too much at university," Kegel said.

To improve the current situation, VDE recommends starting a "far-reaching and effective digital brain gain education offensive" that seeks to improve the teaching of natural science subjects, above all mathematics, "across the board".