MINT Spring Report 2018
Skills shortage in IT hampering digitalization

There is a shortage of around 314,800 workers in Germany in the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural science and technology. This is the startling verdict of the MINT Spring Report 2018 of the German Economic Institute (IW) in cooperation with the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Federation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) and the Employers’ Association Gesamtmetall, which represents companies in the metal and electrical engineering industries.

This year, the shortage of workers was nearly one-third higher than one year earlier, and more than twice what it was at the start of 2015. And specifically IT specialists are urgently needed for the digital shift in German industry; demand here has risen sharply. At present, the industry as a whole is short of around 40,000 computer scientists, twice the figure of three years ago.

Added to which, the strong cohorts of the MINT professions are now entering retirement and not enough juniors are being trained up, despite the rising number of students. The pace of economic growth is simply too high to meet demand for specialists. There are still significantly more men than women in MINT subjects, and the proportion of women is actually falling; that remains a lasting problem. As is the high dropout rate in MINT subjects – in information technology the figure is over 40 percent at universities and technical colleges.

There would be around 148,000 more unfilled vacancies in MINT professions if employment of foreigners had not risen so sharply in recent years. The combined migrant MINT labor force contributes EUR 170.4 billion annually to Germany’s value added. Migrants, mainly from Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, now make up around 15 percent of the workforce in research departments. The total rose from 8,000 in 2016 to 16,400 in the third quarter of 2017.

The MINT Spring Report 2018 now calls for early support in schools: more teaching staff, participation in natural science competitions, MINT initiatives in industry and the use of information and communication technologies in teaching. That is because school students who are interested in the natural sciences often embark on an apprenticeship or studies in MINT subjects, offering an opportunity to prevent the skills shortage from becoming a bottleneck for the digital shift.

Especially as MINT workers enjoy a number of advantages over other professions: 90% of them have a permanent employment contract and MINT academics command especially high pay. Even IT graduates have a starting salary of EUR 41,000 gross, which puts them above the average pay across all university leavers with a masters degree of EUR 38,500.

To bring the IT graduates together with the best employers, once a year Hamburg@work organizes the CodeCruise in conjunction with YOUNG TARGETS , a shuttle bus tour of leading Hamburg businesses in the IT scene.

To view the full MINT Spring Report 2018, click here .