Key Skilled Workers Essential for Munich's Economy

Sun 26th May, 2024

Image by Brian Merrill from PixabayImagine if, overnight, borders were shut and all foreign passport holders were required to leave Munich; the ramifications would likely bring many sectors of the city to a grinding halt. Munich, a bustling hub with nearly 970,000 employees, sees a significant quarter of its workforce comprising individuals from abroad, as per statistics from the employment agency. This figure has surged by over 50 percent since 2015.

Among these foreign workers, a substantial portion hails from the European Union, numbering over 110,000 individuals. Manfred Gößl, leading the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria, extols their role as an "indispensable cornerstone" of both the economy and society. He highlights Croatians, Italians, and Romanians as notably prevalent among them, asserting their indispensability across all sectors.

Take, for instance, the Munich Clinic group, encompassing approximately 7,600 personnel representing over 80 nationalities, with EU nationals constituting around 14 percent of the workforce, predominantly from Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Austria.

Without doubt, Munich's pace would slacken considerably without its international workforce. Longer waits for public transport, disruptions in utilities like electricity and gas supply - these would become common occurrences should the EU workforce vanish suddenly.

Munich's public utilities, employing 11,500 individuals, witness around seven percent hailing from beyond the EU, a proportion anticipated to rise further. Notably, since late 2023, the utilities have been training bus drivers in Spain, with plans to recruit 20 new Spanish drivers by year-end. Additionally, discussions are underway for hiring tram drivers from the Czech Republic and skilled workers and technicians from Bosnia, as well as engineers from Jordan.

The city itself actively seeks talent from abroad, with initiatives like recruiting educators from Spain since 2019. Notably, 38 percent of the city's young talent and 48 percent of its total residents have an immigrant background, underscoring the vital role played by colleagues from diverse backgrounds in keeping the city functioning smoothly.

In the realm of politics, German parties have outlined their visions regarding skilled workers in their election manifestos:

  • CSU aims to establish criteria ensuring comparability of educational qualifications across all spheres.
  • SPD advocates for facilitating cross-border job placements and learning experiences abroad, supported by ERASMUS+.
  • Greens prioritize enhancing applicant positions through standardized recognition procedures for professional qualifications across Europe.
  • FDP proposes the introduction of a central online application portal for the EU, streamlining the application process.

    Image by Brian Merrill from Pixabay


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