Top In-Demand Professions in Germany: Opportunities for Professionals from Latin America and Beyond

2023-06-09 22:42:47

“If we don’t act, we will be short 7 million workers by 2035.”

These are the words of the German Labor Minister, Hubertus Heil, in an interview with the Financial Times at the beginning of May.

A month later, Heil and the German chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, are on a tour of Brazil, Colombia and Panama with an eye on, among other things, facilitating the recruitment of qualified professionals to fill vacancies in their country.

“Latin America and Europe are natural partners,” Baerbock declared at the beginning of the trip.

One in six companies in Germany suffer from labor shortages, according to the latest annual report from the Federal Labor Agency (BA).

In addition, 200 of a total of 1,200 professions evaluated in the study were short-staffed, compared with 148 last year.

The problem is not new. The German government passed the Skilled Immigration Act in 2020 to attract professionals in understaffed sectors.

But it has not been enough and this year the authorities have further eased the requirements to live and work legally in Germany, which needs some 400,000 qualified immigrants each year, according to estimates.

We explain which professions are most in demand and what requirements must be met to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the engine of Europe.

If you are a nurse or doctor, would you consider working in a hospital, clinic or residence in Germany?

The country has a high life expectancy (83.4 years for women and 78.6 for men) and a markedly aged population.

By 2035, more than 20 million Germans will be over 67 – Germany’s official retirement age – according to the Federal Statistical Office.

The demand for nurses and personnel specialized in caring for the elderly already far exceeds the local supply, and in the coming years all studies indicate that it will continue to grow.

There are currently about 40,000 vacancies in hospitals, nursing homes and other care centers in the country, according to government data.

As for the requirements, it is essential to certify the nursing or healthcare degree in Germany and, if it does not reach the required level, take an exam or an adaptation course.

In addition, you must have a minimum B1 (intermediate) level of German language, demonstrate that you are physically and mentally healthy, and present a clean criminal record certificate.

Germany’s healthcare sector, albeit to a lesser extent, also needs doctors.

In this case, a state authorization is needed to practice the profession and accept a job. To obtain it, the state where you aspire to work (Germany is made up of 16 federated states) determines if the medical training in the country of origin is equivalent to the German one.

In the midst of the information technology (IT) revolution, Germany ranked 8th out of 132 countries in the 2022 Global Innovation Index, the year in which its IT turnover exceeded 113 billion euros ($120 billion). , according to government data.

If you have training or experience in this sector, you may find opportunities in the European country, especially in small and medium-sized companies.

They need qualified professionals in areas such as software development, software and hardware support, computer security or data science.

Germany is also looking for engineers in various sectors, from construction planning and architecture to artificial intelligence to the automotive industry, which includes promising branches such as electric mobility and autonomous driving.

Planning and controlling production, carrying out quality tests and designing or building equipment and models are some of the tasks that are most in demand, and there is even the possibility of accessing managerial positions if you have highly advanced training.

Scientists and mathematicians graduated from Latin American universities also have opportunities in Germany, where they can access jobs in teaching, research, computing, marketing or administration, among other branches.

In the case of doctoral students, it is possible to study research programs in the European country through scholarships and programs.

As an economic and industrial power, Germany has an extensive and advanced logistics and transportation network that moves millions of products every day.

But it has a problem: there is a lack of professional drivers who want to get behind the wheel of one of the more than 4 million registered trucks in the country, and there is even a shortage of train and ship engineers.

In fact, already more than one in four drivers on German roads are foreigners, according to government data.

This job requires a proper driving license (C1 or higher on the EU scale) which can be obtained there through tests or validated from the country of origin if it has an agreement with Germany.

To a lesser extent, the country is also looking for specialists such as master craftsmen, carpenters, masons and plumbers or heating and air conditioning technicians.

On the other hand, the environmental industry is a growing source of employment in a country committed to achieving neutrality in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

According to a study by KOFA (the center for attracting skilled labor), Germany faces a shortage of 216,000 workers for the expansion of solar and wind energy.

If you do not have a European passport, to get a job in Germany you will need a visa, obtaining which includes some requirements.

Among them, it is required to demonstrate knowledge of German at a basic A2 level (although for some positions, such as those in the health sector, a higher level is required), to guarantee that one has enough money to subsist during the stay in the country and to comply with the specific requirements of each qualification program.

Once the visa is granted, the government grants a residence permit of up to 18 months in which the applicant can validate their professional qualification or acquire additional training.

Once approved and ready to work, you have a period of one year to find a job in keeping with your profession.

With these initiatives, Germany provides opportunities for learning and development, bringing valuable job and economic opportunities to thousands of people.

However, some experts have pointed out the possible adverse effects that this type of policy causes in migrant-sending countries, specifically the so-called “brain drain.”

The sociologist Aly Tandian, president of the Senegalese Migration Observatory, recently criticized in The Conversation Africa the relaxation of German laws for attracting talent abroad.

He argued that it can cause not only a reduction in qualified human resources in developing countries, but also significant cuts in investment in education and health, as well as tax revenue.

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