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The development of qualification and employment structures in non-R&D-intensive industry sectors – the case of Germany

: Frietsch, Rainer; Neuhäusler, Peter


Som, Oliver (Ed.); Kirner, Eva (Ed.):
Low-tech innovation : Competitiveness of the German manufacturing sector
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 978-3-319-09972-9 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-09973-6 (Online)
ISBN: 3-319-09973-6
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09973-6
Book Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()

In the course of changes within the economic structure in many modern economies, there has been a trend towards more knowledge-, research- and innovation-intensive sectors. These changes were very much in favour of highly skilled employees, while the share of employment of less qualified personnel has decreased. Within this chapter, we aim to provide empirical evidence for the structural changes in the German economy that have occurred since the mid-1990s and try to shed some light on the current and future demand for highly qualified labour, especially in non-R&D-intensive sectors. With the help of data from the German Microcensus, we performed a structural decomposition (“shift-share analysis”) of the employment changes among highly skilled workers in Germany. Although there has been a shift in employment towards the service sectors over the years, 22 % of the German workforce remains in the manufacturing sectors, with the majority of people being employed within non-R&D-intensive parts of the industry. Employment in non-R&D-intensive manufacturing industries has slightly decreased over the years, while there has been increasing demand for highly qualified personnel, which is especially true for university graduates. The non-R&D-intensive sector is increasingly dependent on highly skilled workers to maintain or even increase its innovative potential, which is critical with regard to its competitiveness.