BERLIN Feb 21 Job vacancies in Germany rose to
more than one million in the final three months of 2016 to hit a
record high, data showed on Tuesday, in a further sign of
improved labour demand in Europe's biggest economy.
Total job vacancies jumped by about 80,000 to 1.044 million
in the fourth quarter of last year, the survey by the IAB labour
office research institute found.
"That's a record. We've never seen a higher number of job
vacancies before," IAB researcher Alexander Kubis said.
More than half the vacancies were in services, with the
health sector and firms offering care of the elderly struggling
especially with a shortage of skilled labour, Kubis said.
Other areas with a persistently high number of vacancies are
technical and scientific professions, he added.
German companies have increased their efforts to adapt to a
long-heralded shortage of people of working age as an economic
upturn drives employment and vacancies to record highs.
A survey by staffing firm ManpowerGroup found German firms
were more worried about attracting and retaining talent than
their peers in the United States, France, Italy or Britain.
To counter the shortage of skilled labour, companies have
designed special training schemes for young people from other
European states like Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain, where
youth unemployment is high.
Other measures include above-inflation pay hikes, subsidised
meals and on-site nurseries, flexible working conditions beyond
the statutory minimum as well as training for older employees to
operate machines doing work they used to carry out.
German unemployment fell more than expected in January to
reach a record low of 5.9 percent.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Ed Osmond)