The latest figures for Germany, which come from the Federal Labor Office (the corresponding OAED), refer to the month of June. According to them, approximately 7,600 jobs in tourism and catering remain vacant. The Institute of German Economics estimates that in 2020 alone, the first year of the pandemic, around 216,000 workers left the industry. Some of these jobs appear to be unfilled yet.
However, there are significant differences between the individual states of Germany. The least problems are recorded in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous. In Cologne, the state’s largest city with a tradition of entertainment, tourism and restaurant operators say they can easily find people to fill any departures. On the contrary, their Bavarian colleagues declare their inability to hire the necessary staff. In the city of Würzburg, for example, 83.6% of available jobs in the industry are unfilled. But even in the East German state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania, 60% of jobs in tourism and catering remain vacant, even though it is a region with a tradition of tourism.
Looking for job security
According to a previous survey by the Institute of German Economics, published at the end of July, in 2020 around 34,800 people working in the sector changed professions and started working as salespeople or cashiers in supermarkets. About 27,000 preferred office jobs (secretarial support and related occupations), while as many are now employed in the logistics industry. What does all this mean? “The criterion of job security became more and more important during the crisis”, points out the person in charge of the research Paula Risius. “Certainly other factors play a role, such as a stable work schedule so that there is a work-life balance.”
Consequently, the IW researcher concludes, employers could become more attractive by offering “individual working time accounts” for more flexible time management and, in general, better working conditions. But even these measures are not enough to eliminate the problem. “Due to demographic developments in the coming years we will have less of a workforce anyway,” says Paula Risius. “Germany will not be able to solve this problem without more immigration and without a broader framework of interventions that will facilitate, for example, employment and childcare.”
A difficult autumn
In the coming months, ever-increasing energy prices will cause a further decrease in tourist traffic and the industry will be tested even more, argues Olaf Seppe, president of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) in the state of Brandenburg. “People will prefer a hot bath to a hot meal,” says Sepe characteristically to the German News Agency (dpa) and expresses fears that some hotel businesses will be forced to close. “In the spring of 2023 the industry will be completely different than it is today,” he argues.
Yannis Papadimitriou (DPA, Reuters, RND)
Source: Deutsche Welle