Over 50,000 jobs are to be filled in the largest companies alone. The search for personnel is particularly difficult with skilled workers.

The number of employees is rising and rising. According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 45.1 million people living in Germany were gainfully employed in August 2019. This is an increase of 0.7 percent or 317,000 over the same month last year. In West Germany, around 1,085,000 job vacancies were available in the first quarter of 2019, and around 296,000 in East Germany. The average unemployment rate in Germany was 1.7. 170 unemployed had 100 job vacancies. In the prior-year quarter, this ratio was 2.1. This situation poses challenges for the retail sector in their search for personnel. This is the result of an analysis by the EHI research institute. Retail companies with a combined gross turnover of more than 40 billion euros were surveyed. Ulrike Witt, personnel expert at EHI, sums up: “Retailers are looking for personnel, and a lot of them. Almost 50,000 vacancies are currently being advertised by the 50 largest trading companies in Germany. Especially in the branches, skilled workers are “desperately wanted”.

Personnel search is not simple for branches and headquarters

The search for suitable employees is challenging both for the branches and for the head offices. 46 percent of the personnel managers described it as difficult, 42 percent even as very difficult, to find qualified personnel for the stores. This applies to specialist salespeople as well as retail salespeople and cashiers. The misery continues when it comes to training. For one third of the companies, the search for apprentices for the stores is very difficult, for 42 percent it is still difficult. The company headquarters seem to be much more attractive for school leavers. 71 percent of the companies stated that they could fill their training places without any problems. However, there is also a lack of skilled labour here. 54 per cent of those responsible for HR consider the search for personnel to be difficult, a further 21 per cent even consider it very difficult. This continues in the area of management and executives. 50 percent of respondents find it difficult to fill open management positions in branches or head offices.

Main reason for vacancies is lack of qualifications

When companies advertise a job, they receive an average of 19 applications. It usually takes nine weeks before the vacancy can be filled. If vacancies remain unfilled, the main reason is that the applicants’ qualifications are too low. This is said by 59 percent of the respondents with regard to the head offices and even 83 percent with regard to the branches. Other reasons cited for not filling vacancies in the branches include working hours (79 percent), remuneration (75 percent) and the image of the retail trade (67 percent). The main reasons for this at the head offices are the high demands of the applicants (46 percent), the insufficient number of applications (42 percent) and the remuneration (42 percent). Creative ideas are needed to inspire new employees. In July, for example, Ravensburger invited people to Future Day to introduce themselves as a training company and employer with guided tours, lectures and photo shoots.


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Image: EHI, iStock