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Germany – Skills shortage boosts temporary employment

21 February 2012

The demand for a flexible workforce in Germany has been on the increase for years and managers are now getting better at looking after their temporary staff because the country is experiencing a growing shortage of skilled labour, according to a study published by the German Association for Personnel Management (DGFP).

While experts in the country are expecting the number of temporary employees to pass the one million mark this year, the low unemployment rate in Germany makes it more difficult to find skilled labour. This provides an advantage for temporary staff as the study showed that two thirds of surveyed HR managers said they often hire temporary employees at short notice to fill in for skilled permanent workers. Only 8% said they employed temporary workers “to reduce personnel costs.”

Despite the rather mixed attitudes towards temporary staffing in Germany, three quarters of those questioned said that the growing shortage of skilled labour is “likely” or “very likely” to improve working conditions for temporary workers.

Many also advocated “systematic training” for temporary employees while 60% stated they prefer a uniform dress code for temporary staff. Seven out of ten HR managers also said they would like to have regular meetings or discussions with their temporary staff whereas eight out of ten supported the idea of inviting temporary staff to work outings and Christmas parties.

In Germany, the number of temporary employees has tripled in the last decade from around 300,000 in 2002 to 900,000 in 2011. In 2010, almost 16% of all temporary employees were working in the motor industry while the energy, logistics and infrastructure sector came second with 10.6%. 

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