Germany: 260 000 expats needed, but where?

Published 2019-02-26 14:09

Until 2060, Germany will need 260 000 foreign workers a year of which 56% will come from outside the European Union.

The study was published by the Bertelsmann Foundation, in partnership with the Research Institute of Employment in Germany and the University of Coburg early in February 2019. The study shed light on the foreign workers needs of Germany which stands at 260 000 every year until 2060. Out of these, a whooping 56% of workers will need to come from outside EU-zones. Because of the ageing population, the workforce is set to go from 49 million in 2018 to 38 million in 2060. As such, workers will be needed across the board: skilled, unskilled, and in several different fields. However, what are the skills that you will need in order to find work in Germany?

Medical doctors, nurses and other health professionals

Germany is in dire need of nurses, caregivers and medical doctors. Actually, Germany has one of the biggest shortage in health professionals around the world. Unfortunately, the country loses its nurses and doctors to other countries in the European Union. Several programs have been implemented looking to attract more nurses to Germany including bilateral agreements with several countries around the world.

As for doctors, Germany suffers from a lack of generalists as well as specialists and health professionals such as pharmacists, nutritionists or speech therapists.

Information and Communication Technology

Software developers, programmers, IT consultants and analysts… all are professions that figure on the German shortage skills list. Furthermore, forecasts show that there will be a high demand for workers within this field at least until 2030. Demographic changes, students undertaking qualifications needed to be suitable for such positions and low participation of women in this field are to blame.


Electronics engineer, structural engineer and software engineer are all positions that are featured on the German shortage skills list and it seems like this is not going to change soon. Indeed, even though there has been a strong growth in the number of engineers, the industry has reported vacancies at the Federal Employment Agency which are 50% above the prior year levels.

Administrative professionals

In direction of businesses or elsewhere, the lack of administrative professionals is worrying in Germany. This, despite the fact that degrees needed in order to be able to obtain these jobs are generally accessible. Business administrator, account manager and production assistant are all featured on the German skills shortage list.


As it is the case in several countries around the world, it seems to be difficult to attract young people into teaching jobs. In Germany, experts explain that it might be the low career prospects in terms of wages and responsibilities that are lower than in other occupations even though generally, the starting salaries and working conditions are very decent.