Working in Germany

Ten facts about the German job market

How many assets are there and where do they work? The most important facts and a surprising figure on “the German attendance at work”.

Germany is best known around the world as an industrial site. But how many people are still working in production? And what topics are of interest to Germany when it comes to the jobs of tomorrow? has gathered ten important facts about the job market – and is looking at a snapshot.

  1. Some 44.3 million people worked in Germany in 2017, just over half of the population. The number of active workers has continued to increase over the past twelve years, which can also be explained by the arrival of foreign workers.
  2. Compared to other EU countries, a large number of women work in Germany, 18.4 million in 2017 and 75% of women aged 20 to 64. This percentage is higher in Europe than in Sweden and Lithuania. But most women in Germany work part-time.
  3. Almost three-quarters of working people in Germany work in the service sector, which has grown in recent years. An ever-decreasing number of employees work in production today – around 24% of all workers in 2017. Agriculture now accounts for just over 1% of work.
  4. Crafts – usually small businesses – play a large role in services. In 2017, around 5.5 million people worked in some 1 million craft businesses, more than 12% of the workforce.
  5. Older people are working more and more in Germany; they represented around 15% of 65-69 year olds in 2016 whereas, ten years earlier, only 7% of them were working after the statutory retirement age.
  6. Unemployment is falling in Germany. It was 5.7% in 2017. The number of unemployed was thus at the lowest since reunification in 1990.
  7. The unemployment rate for young Germans is the lowest in Europe. In 2016, 7% of 15-24 year olds were not employed, while the European average was close to 19%.
  8. Almost one in five jobs in Germany is threatened by digitization, estimates the OECD. According to her, 18% of jobs in Germany have “a high risk of being automated”.
  9. The threat of a skilled workforce is a hotly debated topic in Germany. Prognos economics researchers estimate that some 3 million jobs may be vacant by 2030. There is a shortage of doctors and healthcare workers, among others.
  10. Germans are said to be hard workers. They work comparatively little, on average 1,356 hours in 2017. Nowhere else in the OECD does the number of hours worked be as low. This is due to the relatively high number of days off and public holidays and the large number of women working part-time.
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