Our figure of the month 12/2018: Are Germany's regions attractive for foreign specialists?
With advancing globalization and Germany's deep integration into world markets, jobs are increasingly internationally oriented and filled by foreign skilled workers. The employment of (highly) qualified specialists and experts from abroad has grown strongly in recent years, so that the availability of qualified workers is now a decisive factor in securing positive economic development. The recruitment of foreign skilled workers is also becoming increasingly important against the background that shortages of skilled workers in some sectors and regions of Germany are already preventing companies from fully exploiting their potential.
However, the regions in Germany have so far been able to recruit qualified skilled workers from abroad to very different degrees. Foreign specialists and experts who perform jobs with a high and higher level of requirements represent an average of 1.7% of employees subject to social insurance contributions throughout Germany. Regionally, however, this share fluctuates considerably and lies between 0.2 and 5.9%, as the map shows, in which corresponding data from the Federal Employment Agency in 2017 have been processed.
The group of regions marked in dark blue that proportionally employ the highest number of foreign specialists and experts includes only 9 of Germany's 401 administrative districts and cities. In particular, the Munich region and parts of the Rhine-Main region stand out with high proportions. Overall, many foreign skilled workers have been attracted to large cities such as Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, to university towns such as Erlangen and Heidelberg, as well as to border regions such as the districts of Berchtesgadener Land, Lindau, Rastatt and Aachen.
In rural regions, especially in northern and eastern Germany, the employment of foreign specialists and experts is often still low.
The reasons for the attractiveness of the region for foreign specialists have so far been little researched. In theory, the causes of international labour migration, apart from the determinants in the home country, are often fathomed in the so-called pull factors of the target country. In addition to immigration policy, these often include economic factors. At the regional level, initial studies by GWS have shown that income levels and migration networks could be relevant to the immigration of foreign specialists and experts.
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