Germany lacks almost 310.000 workers in the MINT field

MINT Spring Report 2023 with sobering numbers

The one released on May 24th MINT Spring Report, published by the German Economic Institute (IW), shows the serious shortage of skilled workers in the STEM field in sobering figures. But there are also positive developments, including an increase in women in STEM professions. The National STEM Forum, whose members commissioned the study, warns in its press release: "The "MINT Spring Report" shows that the shortage of skilled workers in the MINT areas (mathematics, IT, natural sciences, technology) remains at a high level despite the economic slowdown."

However, the report not only shows the areas in which a particularly severe shortage of staff is to be expected in the future. It also provides information on what needs to be done to counteract the shortage of skilled workers in the best possible way. Many of these tips correspond to the core tasks of zdi.NRW and thus underline the importance of the work of the NRW-wide zdi community.

MINT specialist gap in the area of ​​MINT experts particularly high

The report uses figures from companies and the regional directorates of the employment agencies, compares vacancies with job seekers and also takes into account upcoming retirements. The adjusted numbers paint a sobering picture: compared to the peak in April 2022, the gap has closed slightly a year later, but the numbers are still high as of April 2023 and have also increased slightly. Accordingly, 36 people were missing across all 308.400 MINT job categories. Occupational groups that are particularly affected are energy and electrical occupations (88.600 people missing), mechanical and automotive engineering (56.600 people) and IT occupations (50.600 people missing).

The graphic shows the figures for the MINT skilled labor gap: The x-axis is broken down into the months of January, April, July and October for the years 2011 to 2023. The y-axis is broken down into increments of 50.000 and gives the number of those who are missing workers on. Three superimposed graphs show the number of MINT specialists (usually apprenticeships), MINT special jobs (usually master craftsmen and technicians) and MINT expert jobs (usually academics).
Which: Anger, Christina / Betz, Julia / Plünnecke, Axel, 2023, strengthening MINT education, raising the potential of women, older people and immigrants, reports for BDA, creating a MINT future and Gesamtmetall, Cologne

The gap in skilled workers is particularly high in the area of ​​so-called MINT expert activities, which are usually filled by academics. There is currently a lack of 141.300 people to fill all the positions. An improvement in this area is also not to be expected, since the proportion of students in the STEM field fell from 2015 percent to 2023 percent between 35,1 and 31,7. Accordingly, an increasing demand for STEM experts will meet a decreasing number of graduates in the future.

Inequality in educational opportunities has increased significantly

A worsening of equal opportunities in education, which in turn makes educational advancement more difficult, is also problematic in this respect. According to the expert opinion, the STEM subjects are particularly well suited for educational advancement. In addition to the increased educational inequality, skills in mathematics have also fallen significantly. This factor could also have a negative impact on the number of students in the future. In addition, the proportion of students who drop out of their studies or change their subject is particularly high in the STEM field.

There are also effects on the MINT training occupations: Here the number of trainees fell by 2019 between 2021 and 25.600. The decline was primarily caused by a lack of applicants.

Nevertheless, according to the PISA study, the mathematical and scientific skills of schoolchildren in Germany are still above average in an international comparison. zdi.NRW promotes through STEM courses Skills and interest in this area. The offers are aimed at students of all types of schools and can thus reduce educational injustice and support educational advancement, since support can take place according to skills.

Slight increase in women in STEM fields

The figures in the area of ​​gender equality are more positive: The proportion of women employed in STEM professions increased from 13,8 percent in 2012 to 16,0 percent in 2022. The increase is positive, but the proportion itself is still the same far too small to be able to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. There is also room for improvement when comparing the federal states. Here, North Rhine-Westphalia shares the penultimate place with Rhineland-Palatinate with a proportion of women in MINT professions of 14 percent:

The graphic shows the percentage of women in MINT professions, broken down by federal state. The federal states are given on the x-axis, and the percentages are on the y-axis. From left to right, the values ​​are: Berlin 22,0%, Hamburg 19,2%, Thuringia 18,0%, Saxony 17,2%, Hesse 16,8%, Schleswig-Holstein 16,5%, Baden-Württemberg 16,3 .16,3%, Saxony-Anhalt 16,3%, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 16,2%, Bavaria 15,4%, Lower Saxony 15,1%, Brandenburg 14,2%, Bremen 14,0%, Rhineland-Palatinate 14,0 %, North Rhine-Westphalia 13,3%, Saarland 16,0%, Germany XNUMX%
Which: Anger, Christina / Betz, Julia / Plünnecke, Axel, 2023, strengthening MINT education, raising the potential of women, older people and immigrants, reports for BDA, creating a MINT future and Gesamtmetall, Cologne

Clear differences in the proportion of women can also be found within the different areas of activity and professional fields. In the professions with academic qualifications, jobs in the fields of biology and chemistry are far ahead, with a proportion of 46,7 percent women. The situation is even better for the "other scientific expert occupations" whose activities are not covered by other categories such as engineering occupations or IT occupations. The proportion of women here is 73,1 percent. The proportion of women in MINT training occupations with a focus on mathematics and natural sciences is particularly remarkable: 89,4 percent of the positions are held by women. In the field of metal processing, women are still strongly underrepresented at all levels of activity: at the expert level (university graduates), the proportion of women is 11,6 percent, at the specialist level (master craftsmen, technicians) around 4,5 percent and at the skilled worker level (apprenticeships). ) at 5 percent.

Recommendations for action

Digitization, decarbonization, demographics and deglobalization are the buzzwords that will trigger great pressure to transform in Germany in the future. In order to manage this transformation, there is an urgent need to reduce the skills gap in the STEM field. Recommendations for action on how this can be achieved are not only provided by the MINT spring report. Helpful tips can also be found within the MINT and zdi communities.

That’s how it works, for example MINT Young Talent Barometer 2023 with the challenges in the field of MINT promotion of young talent. We have summarized the most important findings from the young talent barometer on LinkedIn. The results and recommendations coincide in many places with the points that we already have on the zdi girls camp 2022 could raise.

The positive effects of all-day educational offers and holiday offers are emphasized. Language support programs are designed to help break down language barriers. The Courses from the zdi community already show that STEM courses are excellent for overcoming such barriers. In addition, MINT education should start in pre-school and not only with career and study orientation - a demand that the zdi community also supports and is already implementing in part: for example the initiative KidsgoMINT of the zdi center MINT network Essen or the MINTmachCLUB.lip of the zdi center Lippe.MINT.

In the area of ​​work with girls, the importance of female role models and mentoring programs is emphasized. zdi.NRW is therefore active throughout the year - but especially during the zdi heroines October - for the visibility of girls and women in MINT professions, training and courses. As far as the courses on offer are concerned, it has been shown again and again that the zdi courses appeal to all genders equally. The course design is based on current recommendations from research, such as the Technical video production guidelines, which were developed by a research group at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. The proportion of female participants in the zdi courses has been over 45 percent for years.

You can read the complete MINT Spring Report 2023 here:

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