Problems of attracting new talent in mechanical engineering

IG Metall sounds alarm

The shortage of skilled workers is noticeable in many industries. But it is not only in the care and craft sectors that there is an acute shortage of personnel, but also in mechanical engineering.

Wolfgang Lemb, member of the board of IG Metall, said to the magazine Rheinische Post: “Securing skilled workers is a big problem in mechanical engineering”. In a survey called “Trendmelder”, the union asks works councils. However, the survey is not representative.

High age in mechanical engineering

Nevertheless, Lemb sees a problem for the next generation in mechanical engineering, as the average age is already 50 years. This is more than seven years older than the average age of all employees in Germany. And the problem could even worsen if no young staff is recruited. According to the trade unionist’s forecasts, the average age could rise to 52 by 2030.

The industry association VDMA has also recognized the problem. Managing Director Thilo Brodtmann sees politicians as responsible. The return to retirement at the age of 63 and the part-time bridge work is a policy of the Grand Coalition which prevents employees from working. On the other hand, he calls for better framework conditions for companies to make higher employment possible – for example by reforming the Working Hours Act.

Politics and the company in charge

However, IG Metall does not see the reasons for the shortage of personnel in politics, but gives employers the responsibility. Lemb told Rheinische Post that ten percent of the works councils surveyed stated in the Trend Monitor that there was no personnel planning and development.

The trade unionist therefore demands that mechanical and plant engineering companies actively work on personnel planning and should therefore analyses the age structure in the company and the qualification requirements.

The sector should also be made more attractive for the next generation, for example through stronger collective bargaining and more co-determination rights. Around 56 percent of the companies are currently bound by the IG Metall collective bargaining agreement – and Lemb still has room for improvement.