Half of German Firms Cannot Find Qualified Workers

Companies have turned down contracts and even cancelled investments due to shortage.

According to a study by Ifo research institute published on Nov. 19 in the business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, half of German firms are unable to recruit qualified personnel. Of the companies surveyed, 43% said they had been forced to refuse contracts and defer or even cancel certain investments as a result.

A small number, 7%, said they might move to other countries as a result of the lack of skilled workers.

One company in five companies reported offering wages that were "markedly higher" to such staff.

The debate is a recurrent one in Germany, with a study released late last month saying that the lack of engineers, computer programmers and others with science skills cost the eurozone's biggest economy 18.5 billion euros ( US$27.1 billion) per year.

German authorities have taken a small step towards opening the country's borders to skilled technical workers from Eastern Europe.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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