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Study reveals huge gap in IT specialists in German public sector

FILED - A man is typing on a lit keyboard. Photo: Nicolas Armer/dpa

Germany will lack 140,000 IT specialists in its civil service alone by 2030, business consultants McKinsey have predicted based on a study published on Wednesday.

The shortage has risen by 15% since the last study published in 2019. The figures imply that the envisaged digitization of public administration could become bogged down, the study’s authors warn.

The estimates are based on current rates of new staff appointments on the one hand and future retirements on the other. The German civil service currently employees 5.1 million people, 1.5 million of whom will retire by 2030.

The current shortage of 39,000 IT experts is set to more than triple by 2030, McKinsey predicts.

“Considering the major digitization programmes of the federal and state governments, the estimate of the staff shortages can be seen as conservative,” Julia Klier, one of the study’s authors, said in reference to plans to provide online access to services, such as applying for driving licences.

This will worsen the situation, in Klier’s view.

“Digital administration projects, such as the digital driving licence application are things that make our lives easier,” said Bj√∂rn M√ľnstermann, responsible at McKinsey for advising the public sector.

He called for the establishment of a central body to administer measures to counter the skills shortage in the IT sector.

The study called for appointment processes in the public sector to be speeded up, but it also noted a scarcity of graduates to cater to demand. Public sector staff should be offered in-service training, it said.