The millions of missing workers
Ever widening gaps in Germany’s labour force are leading people to question the decades-held orthodoxy of Aufstieg durch Bildung.
It is something of a mystery. When the western world crept back outside after two years of pandemic-enforced isolation, it entered a world where workforces seemed to have vanished into thin air.
Whether it be the US, the UK or Germany, major economies are blighted by a phenomenon that has been called “the great resignation.” Restaurants and hotels put signs in their windows in vain hope of finding staff; People travelling through airports now find themselves on a deeper level of Dante’s hell due to a lack of staff.
In truth, this phenomenon still seems poorly understood. Workers have disappeared, but unemployment hasn’t gone up. They’ve gone somewhere else. But where?
This phenomenon comes on top of shortages of skilled labour that had been plaguing Germany for years but which are becoming ever more acute due to the fact that baby boomers are retiring and there aren’t enough young people to take their places.
Add to that the fact that young people have been told that university is the path to success and you have a massive imbalance in the job market. An oversupply of literature graduates is depressing wages in the professional sector while manufacturers and tradespeople can’t find staff for love nor money.
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