Labor Shortage

Putting the Brakes on Innovation

40971u source Harris & Ewing Office Work retrieved from the Library of Congress – 1936 office clerks administration
If only they knew what office work would be like with a computers. Source: Harris & Ewing [Office Work], retrieved from the Library of Congress

Invigorated by the strength of the economy, German firms are chomping at the bit to innovate. But they feel they’re being held back by the government’s chronic inaction, according to a major new study seen by Handelsblatt.

Three quarters of the 1,700 companies polled by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) said they would like to innovate more but struggle because they can’t find enough skilled people.

One in two firms see this problem as a risk to their future, according to the study obtained by Handelsblatt. Experts say the skilled labor shortage poses a threat to the overall momentum of innovation in Europe’s largest economy.

Germany has failed so far to reach its goal of investing 3 percent of gross domestic product in research and development. The government’s target of 3.5 percent by 2025 looks far out of reach, while Israel and South Korea are already at 4 percent.

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