Aid! Berlin is running out of workers

By Bjorn Trautwein

Empty offices, unmanned supermarket checkouts, restaurants where the kitchen remains cold and craftsmen where no one answers the phone: there are no appointments available anyway!

Berlin is running out of workers. According to official statistics from the Federal Employment Agency, 22,000 jobs were vacant in June. 6000 more than a year ago. Waiters, handymen, IT specialists, unskilled workers, nurses and teachers are missing. Thousands of teachers are missing in schools.

“Not only are the typical seasonal businesses in catering and tourism as well as the construction sector looking for workers, all other industries in the region are also signaling a high demand for workers,” says Ramona Schröder, head of the employment office for the Berlin Region- Brandenburg.

Tarpaulin on the fence or sign in the window: like here at Köpenick, many companies use posters to look for new employees Photo: Olaf Selchow

“I could hire ten people immediately,” says taxi entrepreneur Thomas Wonneberger (47) from Köpenick. “We’ve been looking for a new technician for a year,” says Michael Schuler (59), technical facilities manager at the Rathaus-Center in Pankow, and Ganymed boss Michael Pankow (58) would like to hire several trainees for the restaurant of. right now.

There just isn’t anyone. For a long time, advertising is not only placed on job gates, but also on shop windows, on cars and on the fences of premises, Berlin companies are desperately looking for engineers and architects, retailers and cashiers.

Classifieds portal eBay reported this week that the percentage of posted job ads has more than doubled compared to 2020. While a total of about 380,000 job ads were posted two years ago, the company says there are about 795,000 today. An increase of almost 110 percent.

Why do so many positions remain open?

The reasons for the many vacancies vary. For a long time there was very little vocational training, in the catering industry many people have found work in other sectors due to Corona, and in the taxi industry there is fierce competition from Uber and other driving services: profits and sales are falling and with them the attractiveness of the jobs.

At Cleancar in Adlershof, employees advertise all year round on the large display board.  Successful: all positions are currently filled

At Cleancar in Adlershof, employees advertise all year round on the large display board. Successful: all positions are currently filled Photo: Olaf Selchow

Hans Peter Wollseifer (66), head of the German Chamber of Commerce, says: “On average, around 20,000 training positions could not be filled in recent years.”

The outlook for the future is particularly bleak. According to the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the situation in all sectors will worsen dramatically as a result of the retirement of the so-called baby boomers from the mid-2020s. For the year 2035, Berlin alone is predicted to lack 377,000 skilled workers . Because more and more Germans are retiring. Last year alone there were 1.7 million people.

Skilled workers are needed here

Who does the cleaning here?
Marc Klann is a team leader at service provider 3B

Marc Klann is a team leader at service provider 3B Photo: 3b

Marc Klann (49) is a team leader at service company 3B, but his team could still grow a bit. The company (which takes care of hotels and other corporate buildings) is looking for young people. The cleaning staff is missing, but the receptionists and technicians are missing.

CEO Daniel Noraman: “We are meeting the scarce supply of staff with attractive terms and conditions such as pay above the collective agreement, turnover bonuses and excellent training and further education opportunities.” Anyone who wants to be there: www.drei-b.de/jobs

Stove Apprentices Wanted
Chef Pietro Solito from Ganymed Brasserie on Schiffbauerdamm

Chef Pietro Solito from Ganymed Brasserie on Schiffbauerdamm Photo: Stephanie von Becker

Twenty trainees work for chef Michael Pankow (58) and chef Pietro Solito (42) at Brasserie Ganymed on Schiffbauerdamm. But finding descendants is difficult. “We could immediately hire four more trainees and also service staff, but the market is empty,” says Michael Pankow. The restaurateur pays temporary workers and students an hourly wage of 14 euros above the normal rate.

“With a tip, you get 20 to 25 euros an hour.” But many restaurants have lost employees due to the coronavirus – hundreds of thousands have sought work in other sectors. Now they must be painstakingly recovered.

rescuers are wanted
Diana Ates is a paramedic with Berlin Malteser

Diana Ates is a paramedic with Berlin Malteser Photo: Malteser Berlin

Diana Ates (41) has been working as a paramedic for Berlin Malteser for six years. “Work makes me happy because I don’t sit in the office all day, but I’m always on the move to help others,” says the mother of four. She will soon start further training to become an emergency paramedic and of course she would like to welcome other colleagues. Because like all emergency services, the Maltese are looking for young people. If you want to be there: www.malteser-berlin.de/rd

Nobody wants to drive a taxi anymore
Taxi entrepreneur Thomas Wonneberger from Köpenick

Taxi entrepreneur Thomas Wonneberger from Köpenick Photo: Olaf Selchow

Labor market? “A unique disaster,” says company head Thomas Wonneberger (47) from Köpenick. He could hire ten drivers immediately, “but we can’t find anyone,” he says. It had 100 employees before Corona, of which almost 37 remain. It placed ads on many online portals, but sometimes there is no application for them.

“Uber is causing us problems, taxi sales are down and we’re having problems with ambulance transport.”

Professional screwdriver in the center of the town hall
Michael Schuler, technical facility manager and interior technician Alexander Sommer need reinforcements in the Pankow town hall center

Michael Schuler, technical facility manager and interior technician Alexander Sommer need reinforcements in the Pankow town hall center Photo: Stefanie Herbst

From the lightning rod to the heating and ventilation systems to the surveillance camera, Michael Schuler (59) and building technician Alexander Sommer (36) are responsible for everything in Pankow town hall that has a plug or can be repaired.

The problem: They have been looking for reinforcements for their team for a year now. Prerequisite: manual training. “But it’s enchanted,” says technical director Schuler, “we just can’t find suitable candidates.” Anyone interested: www.rathauscenter-pankow.de/center/jobs

Marketing for the mall
Tobias Bahlmann is the central manager of Gropiuspassagen

Tobias Bahlmann is the central manager of Gropiuspassagen Photo: Stefanie Herbst

115 shops and 26 restaurants. Neuköllner Gropius Passagen is one of the largest shopping centers in Berlin. The center just invited needy children to workshops and a meal together. Events to be organized, as well as advertising for the building and taking care of the residents, these are the tasks of center manager Tobias Bahlmann and his team. But even here the desks remain empty.

“We are urgently looking for a boost for our marketing,” he says. And in other shopping temples of the operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) marketing and office specialists are wanted. Almost 50 positions are advertised there. www.gropius-passagen.de/jobs and www.unibail-rodamco-westfield.de/karriere/jobportal.

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