Today, there is no longer a "war for talents," meaning a competition for good young employees, but a "battle" for literally every well-trained employee. Finding suitable employees is becoming increasingly difficult. We at thyssenkrupp are also aware of this and have taken the opportunity to take a closer look at the challenges, but also our solutions and opportunities in several articles.

Long queues at airports, forced rest days in the restaurants, bottlenecks in the medical care of patients - the consequences of a lack of personnel are now clearly evident in our daily lives. For employers, it is becoming more difficult every day to recruit and retain good employees. Two million positions in Germany are unfilled. Industry is equally affected as start-ups and SMEs. Overall, 53 percent of companies in Germany are struggling with staff shortages.

There is no easing of the situation in sight. On the contrary, the existing effects will have an even greater impact on the labor market in the future. Take demographic change, for example: By 2030, there could already be a shortage of more than three million skilled workers, and by 2036, 30 percent of today's workforce will retire. At the same time, 20 percent less young people will finish school with a degree. And that's not all: Corona has also increased motivation to change jobs - one in two is now thinking about a career change.

The figures speak for themselves and show: The market has turned around - from an employer market to an employee market. This means that companies are on the applicant side and have to convince people of their qualities. In doing so, they are becoming increasingly creative: they are buying company apartments, setting up working hubs in attractive cities, or working with accelerated application processes, for example in the form of blind recruiting.

We are also feeling the effects of these changes: More than 2,000 positions in the Group are currently vacant, and not just at certain levels or with certain qualifications. It runs through like a red thread - among management teams as well as employees and trainees. And: it affects all our businesses worldwide. Especially wherever digitization and new technologies are involved, the shortage and the resulting challenges are already significant. In the past, for example, more than 2,000 patents were registered every year. Today, also due to the Corona era, there are less than half per year.

How are we dealing with this shift in times at thyssenkrupp? We are pursuing various approaches at the same time. For example, there are the aspects of immigration, which involves recruiting skilled workers from abroad and integrating refugees on the labor market, the inclusion of people with a disability and the integration of the older workforce. In addition, our goal is to increase the female employment rate. At thyssenkrupp there are currently only 16 percent women in the total workforce, and 13.1 percent in management positions - there is still room for improvement, considering that currently 75 percent of German women are participating in the workforce. The focus on increased digitization of work processes, including in the production area, can also offer opportunities. These are all important topics that society and politics are currently discussing.

It is therefore all the more important not only to recruit good employees, but also to retain them in our Group. In the future, we will invest much more time and effort in this area, focusing for example on training, reskilling, and future-proof forms of work - such as flexitime, mobile working, and the compatibility of family and career.

Our conclusion? In the end, people are what matters. And they no longer focus (only) on their pay – respectful interaction, a healthy corporate culture and the meaning of their daily work count equally! We talk a lot about performance and competitiveness – but we can only achieve this if we retain and attract the right people.