MAR 12, 2019 | GERMANY
BSA Releases Policy Agenda to Build Tomorrow’s Workforce in Germany
BERLIN – March 12, 2019 – Jobs in software development, computer programming, and cybersecurity are growing fast: in 2016, the software industry contributed more than €159 billion to German GDP, which represents a seven billion euros increase over a two-year period. It currently supports more than two million jobs. From the farmer who monitors crops from the touch of a tablet, to the nurse who can see and talk to a patient via video from hundreds of miles away, to the mechanic who uses advanced diagnostics tools to identify and repair car problems, software has transformed nearly every German industry.
This transformation has resulted in the need for new skill sets among German workers. The government, the regions and the private sector have important roles to play in implementing policies that will prepare today’s workers and the next generation for the jobs software creates.
This is also a question of tackling the shortage of STEM workers. According to the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, in 2018, the German labour market was short of nearly 315,000 employees in the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology. A Bitkom study also showed that 82,000 positions for IT experts were still vacant in September 2018.
To help workers transition smoothly into the workforce demands of the new digital economy and to support employer to find qualified employees, BSA | The Software Alliance has released A Policy Agenda to Build Tomorrow’s Workforce in Germany [also in German].
“Nearly every sector of the German economy relies on software to succeed,” Thomas Boué, BSA Director General, Policy – EMEA. “Germany needs to strengthen its workforce to ensure it continues to be a European leader and remains competitive. Preparing new generations for jobs of the future has a multifaceted approach and therefore requires working on education, retraining and broadening access to technology”.
BSA’s agenda offers four areas where the federal government, the regions and the industry can work together to:
- Improve access to STEM education. Making STEM education inclusive and widely available builds interest in developing in-demand skills and helps prepare the future workforce. We should focus on promoting STEM education in primary and secondary schools, encouraging greater diversity, broadening exposure, and aligning STEM curricula to real-world demands.
- Expand workforce retraining. In addition to preparing the next generation workforce, we must ensure the current workforce has access to the skills needed as the job market evolves. We should focus on investing in mid-career training in high-demand tech skills, strengthening “dual” vocational training and adapt the training to the challenges of digitization.
- Create alternative pathways to the evolving workforce. In the new economy, technical schools, apprenticeships, boot camps, and other alternative pathways may be just as effective as traditional classrooms. We should focus on strengthening apprenticeship programs, expanding technical school education, and mainstreaming boot camps, online courses, and other models to expand the path to the 21st century for German workforce.
- Broaden access to technology. Technology enables the creation of jobs and economic growth in all industries and in all parts of Germany. We should focus on achieving nationwide broadband access and ensuring access to technology in the classroom.