ZEW-Survey: Businesses Respond to Need for ICT Specialists with Further Training


In comparison to two years ago, the acute shortage in ICT specialists in Germany has significantly improved. At the end of 2002, a total of 2.8 per cent of businesses were looking to employ ICT specialists at the next possible date, 3.2 per cent fewer than in 2000.

Accordingly, the number of ICT specialists being sought for employment at the earliest possible date has fallen from 81,000 in 2000 to around 14,000 in 2002. Despite the recent improvement in recruitment issues, around a third of businesses in Germany still consider the insufficient supply of ICT specialists to constitute an obstacle to their increased use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

This is the finding of a business survey carried out by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, with the financial support of the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg in the fourth quarter of 2002. In total, ZEW surveyed 4,500 businesses in Germany in regards to their use of ICT. The businesses concerned employ five or more staff members and are active in the manufacturing industry and selected service sectors.

The shortage of ICT specialists is most significant in ICT-intensive service sectors. This is particularly true of the EDP sector itself, where more than 14 per cent of the businesses surveyed would like to employ ICT specialists. After EDV businesses, it is firms in the banking and insurance sectors, as well as technical service providers, which are most affected by shortages; 6 per cent of the businesses in each of these sectors have unoccupied ICT posts. In the manufacturing industry, it is electrical engineering businesses which are most in need of ICT specialists; 7 per cent of such businesses have unoccupied ICT posts.

The results of the survey also show that in total, a third of businesses have employed ICT specialists in the last two years and/or were seeking to employ an ICT specialist at the earliest possible date at the end of 2002. In order to address their need for ICT specialists in the last two years, these businesses have used a wide range of measures. The most frequently used measure, used by 57 per cent of businesses, is providing current staff members with re-training or further training. Subcontracting tasks to other firms is the second most commonly used measure (54 per cent), around 52 per cent of the firms implement overtime. Less attractive measures seem to be the employment of new re-trained staff members (15 per cent) and the increase in pay offered to job applicants (9 per cent).


Prof. Dr. Irene Bertschek, Phone: +49(0)621/1235-178, E-mail: bertschek@zew.de