As a result of the Corona pandemic and associated lockdowns, the working world was turned upside down. Particularly in the out-of-home catering sector, activities could not be carried out at times, employees were laid off or stores had to close temporarily. The consequences of these actions are still being felt today: In June 2022, the employment agency in Germany reported 877,000 vacancies. At the same time, the decline in the birth rate of recent decades is becoming noticeable. While around 1.7 million people will retire in 2020, only 0.75 million school leavers could be recorded - nowhere near enough to keep the number of employed people constant. Due to the precarious situation described above, it is no wonder in what volume bakery branches and restaurateurs are responding with "We are looking for staff" signs, shorter opening hours or reduced offerings, as well as days off. Every second company in Germany is now affected by the shortage of skilled workers, and the lack of trained personnel represents the second greatest business risk for companies. According to Enzo Weber of the Institute for Employment Research, a reorientation is needed to improve this situation in order to solve the problem in the long term. But where and how do you start? We give you 3 measures to counteract the shortage of skilled workers.
A first lever for a company to be able to find more employees is to position itself more attractively on the labor market. To do this, it is important to clarify in advance what employees expect nowadays and how to differentiate oneself from other companies.
According to a study by identifire and StepStone Austria, a secure job, a good working atmosphere and the opportunity to work flexibly are among the most important criteria when deciding on an employer. This is followed by scope for design and decision-making (36%) and an appropriate salary (35%). These results support further work that shows the need for flexible working hours and a work-life balance. According to ADP Germany, 74% of the parents surveyed and 68% of those without children would like to be able to organize their working hours more flexibly. In view of these facts, it is not at all surprising that greater employer attractiveness and the compatibility of family and career are found in first and third place among the measures that companies take to solve the shortage of skilled workers. Female applicants in particular are thus removed as a major obstacle: According to the Munich-based ifo Institute, 17% of women would like to work more than they actually do. For many, however, this decision stands or falls with the care available for their children.
Many companies see another approach to countering the shortage of skilled workers in the self-qualification of their employees. The aim is to cushion the effects of the shortage of skilled workers by providing in-service training.
47% of companies are already intensifying their training and 39% offer continuing education courses to further train their workforce and thus develop less qualified employees into skilled workers. According to the Bertelsmann Stiftung, distance learning is the most suitable option for this purpose, but this measure is only applicable to isolated areas. More comprehensive are special training courses on the subject of digital skills, in which around one in three companies would like to invest. The Qualification Opportunities Act, which promises financial relief for employers in such cases, is helpful here. During the training period, both the training and the wage costs are subsidized by the job center. The main objective is to qualify employees in digitalization-related topics and to promote occupations with staff shortages.
At present, existing skilled workers are trying to compensate for the lack of employees by working overtime. However, this approach entails a problem spiral: the additional workload on staff results in increased deadline pressure, increasing work compression and a decline in the attractiveness of the profession. Similarly, 61% of companies expect rising labor costs as a result of these bottlenecks, which could further fuel inflation. Digital work structures offer great potential at this point to cushion the shortage of skilled workers. Although the initial costs of digital processes may be uncertain, shortened internal processes offer great potential for savings in the long term, as well as more efficient use of skilled labor. With the help of digitization and automation processes, unproductive and repetitive activities, which are part of everyday life for 34% of employees, are a thing of the past. In addition to stress and excessive demands, the lack of meaning in certain tasks is one of the most common reasons for quitting. Accordingly, modern software solutions play a particularly key role: algorithms take over both the selection and allocation of data, as well as its processing and distribution. In this process, they not only shorten conventional processing times, but also reduce the error rate at the same time. In parallel, artificial intelligence and machine learning recognize complex interrelationships and are able to map them simply. Employees are relieved, leaving them enough time for tasks that require individual decisions and skills. Delicious Data's software also makes use of this characteristic. By taking into account individual factors and continuous learning, reliable forecasts are generated. This results not only in the ability to precisely plan the use of goods, but also in optimal personnel planning. At the same time, employees can concentrate on the core business again and have more time for their customers. All this leads to a significant competitive advantage: satisfied customers come back, happy employees stay with the company and you increase your sales.