The German labour market has developed in the right direction in recent years. The number of those in work is at a record level, and it has proved possible to halt and reverse the trend of increasing structural unemployment going back several decades thanks to good reforms. Ensuring a base of skilled workers a further sustainable dismantling of unemployment must be the focus of labour market and employment policy.
In light of the forward march of globalisation, a growing shortage of skilled workers and the advance of demographic change, a flexible labour market and better exploitation of domestic labour resources are being increasingly important. In this regard, BDA works in particular for better employment opportunities and a higher participation rate of women, older workers, migrants and people with disabilities. Germany also relies on qualified immigrants from abroad and in parallel need an immigration system geared to labour market needs.
An essential element for a dynamic employment situation is a consistent focus of social protection for the unemployed and employment promotion on a rapid reintegration in the world of work. Correct reforms in unemployment insurance and in basic protection for the working poor as well as in labour market policy over recent years, together with the thorough reorganisation of the German Federal Employment Agency, show that structural reforms for more flexibility and better work placement and promotion pay dividends.
Nevertheless, the German system of social benefits for the unemployed and active employment promotion financed out of tax and social insurance is still not optimally geared to ensuring a rapid match between supply and demand on the labour market. There is no alternative to further reforms on the labour market and establishment of a conclusive concept for more growth and jobs if the goal of full employment in Germany is to be achieved.
Support rapid inclusion in new employment
BDA wants social protection for the unemployed in a flexible labour market to be shaped in such a way that individual responsibility and mobility are reinforced. To that end, what is needed is a stronger concentration of unemployment insurance financed out of social insurance contributions on its core purpose as well as markedly better activation, intermediation and assistance of low-skilled workers and the long-term unemployed in the area of welfare and unemployment benefits. The right to social benefits under unemployment insurance and out of the general budget must not only provide appropriate social protection for the unemployed but also be structured is such a way as to promote employment.
Social protection should not encourage beneficiaries to continue receiving transfer payments but give targeted support for rapid inclusion in new employment. It is necessary to provide the unemployed with professional and personalised intermediation tailored to needs on the labour market. In addition, it is important to give people effective support when they return to the labour market and intermediation fails to lead to a new activity immediately. A fundamental condition for the success of training and qualification measures as well as mobility support is that employment promotion instruments are deployed efficiently and in a targeted way.