No improvement for the high-tech industries in sight

Job market

No improvement for the high-tech industries in sight

In the headline, the term "Corona crisis" was deliberately avoided, because many difficult developments in today's labor market situation were already present before or have only become transparent or intensified as a result of the pandemic - an assessment.

Every day, the media reports on the current economic situation and its probable development - of course in different ways, depending on the interests of the reporter. Therefore, we would like to point out the reality that we experience daily in many contacts with entrepreneurs, executives, personnel managers as well as applicants.

Accordingly, there will be very strong changes and slumps in the entire labor market, no matter what so-called experts want to prophesy to us. In the high-tech sector, however, this will hardly happen, or only to a very limited extent, because here we have already had a considerable supply deficit of - in almost every respect - qualified applicants for years. This applies both in technical terms (see, for example, the IT sector) and in terms of personal characteristics and skills (lack of willingness to perform, flexibility, motivation, etc.). In many functional areas, the requirement profiles are also changing (e.g., in times of crisis, the order collector/manager is no longer sought in sales, but the hunter, the winner). Even if there will certainly be a decline in vacancies here and there, the successful future of a high-tech company is defined by its employees, who can shape this future - with their know-how and their personality. And this applies to all levels - from young professionals to top managers. For employers looking for new employees, this means that recruiting will continue to require the utmost professional attention in the future.

"Even if clients ask me again and again: `Now there must be applicants in rows?`, unfortunately I have to say: `No, there are not`. Sometimes there may be a larger number of applicants, but not from the point of view of the stated suitable qualifications."

Udo Wirth, Managing Director of beratungsgruppe wirth + partner

Besides, a good candidate will hardly leave his relatively secure and satisfying position. And if he does, the searcher will need a lot of persuasion to win him over. The fundamental will to change in terms of mobility, relocation, the willingness to get to know "new things" and to take risks remains very poorly developed among German employees, as it has been for many years.

The term "New Work" is also still on everyone's lips. Of course, a lot has happened here in terms of flexibility and home office options. But otherwise? If one is honest, the following aspects are still of decisive interest to an applicant: Job security, income, challenges and tasks in the job. Everything else can be discussed later, when the uncertainties are over. However, applicants are currently more cautious with regard to income expectations, but rarely are candidates willing to take a step back in salary.

The special case of "management

Changes within the employee group "middle to top management" take place relatively unnoticed, because it is certainly not made public and there are hardly any statistics about it. Larger companies in particular reorganize in times of crisis, in some cases entire hierarchy levels are eliminated, and managers over the age of 50 are parted with as inconspicuously as possible and with high severance payments. This target group is pushing strongly into the labor market, but with relatively low chances of finding a job again if the applicants do not show a high degree of flexibility and willingness to change.

The following statements therefore reflect the current labor market situation well: According to the German Federal Statistical Office, 69 % of companies are having difficulty recruiting IT specialists. The Institute of German Industry notes, "Compared to Q2 2019, labor demand in the engineering sector fell by 23.7 % in Q2 2020, while unemployment rose by 38.6 %." And Ingo Rauhut, labor market expert at VDI, predicts, "While the effects of the economic slowdown and the Corona crisis are likely to be temporary, by the time they subside at the latest, the long-term demographic challenge will be felt again.” This statement refers to the situation that the number of graduates in engineering will continue to decline as a result of the falling birth rate and that many engineers with professional experience will increasingly retire in the coming years.o, what does this mean for a high-tech sector like the electronics industry? The shortage of skilled workers is not over and will return in full force after the current crisis. Companies would therefore be well advised to take appropriate countermeasures in good time.

Publishing date

29 January 2021

Next article


  • Human Resource Management