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There is a shortage of skilled workers in Germany. Up to 2.5 million jobs remain unfilled. But does this also apply to the creative industries, and if so, which ones? We talked about this with Denise Grduszak from the Erich Pommer Institute, who presented the results of two studies she led at the People & Culture Festival this year.
CCB Magazine:Lack of staff, migration to other sectors, fewer applications - Germany is suffering from a shortage of skilled workers. Does this also apply to the creative industries?
Denise Grduszak:I can't speak for the entire creative industry, but can only refer to the media industry, for which we have reliable figures. In any case, many companies can no longer find suitable staff - either because no one is applying or because the skills or qualifications of the applicants are insufficient. And then we also have demographic change on our doorstep, which means that in the next five to 15 years, around 30 percent of current employees will retire and significantly fewer will follow. On top of that, the media industry is now also competing with other sectors.
CCB Magazine:In what way?
Denise Grduszak:The media industry no longer seems as attractive as it did years ago. A decade ago, a lot of people still wanted to "do something with media". That has thinned out in the meantime. There is also a "war of talents" in the creative sectors. The battle for well-qualified workers is fierce.
Many companies can no longer find suitable staff - either because no one is applying or because the skills or qualifications of the applicants are insufficient
CCB Magazine:As a project manager, you are in charge of the Media Collective training network at the Erich Pommer Institut gGmbH and have been coordinating a nationwide working group on the topic of film & TV skills strategy for some time now. In 2022, you published a study on the shortage of skilled workers in moving image productions and recently conducted another survey on the employment situation in 2023. What are the results?
Denise Grduszak:In the first study from 2022, we came to the conclusion in the film production sector that 75 percent of companies and 71 percent of filmmakers are experiencing a noticeable shortage of skilled workers. This also leads to increased work pressure and psychological stress in companies, which often jeopardizes the implementation and quality of productions - 88 percent of the companies surveyed reported such increased work pressure on staff, 48 percent reported higher costs and 47 percent cited difficulties in meeting quality standards. And the staffing difficulties cited by the companies in 2022 related to almost all positions in a production, led by film management and production management. The results of the second as yet unpublished study from 2023 show that, on the one hand, productions have declined, which is largely due to "normal" fluctuations as well as changes in the market. On the other hand, there are fewer and fewer young people in the media film industry: in Berlin, only around ten to 15 percent of young people aged between 20 and 30 form the basis of the industry.
CCB Magazine:What are the reasons for this?
Denise Grduszak:There are various reasons for this. Firstly, the creative fields have long been characterized by a high level of uncertainty, i.e. insecure income and irregular working hours, which many people simply no longer want to put up with. It is no coincidence that a study by Prognos on the shortage of skilled workers in the creative sectors concludes that there is a migration to "secure" professions, and this effect is particularly pronounced among solo self-employed people - there has also been a noticeable slump in the training market, which has severely set back the development of training positions in the cultural and creative industries. On the other hand, the hype surrounding all the creative professions in the 1990s has flattened out, and in many places the creative professions are certainly no longer as attractive just because they are creative - today, other things such as sustainability, diversity and much more count. In addition, as mentioned above, many applicants are simply not suitable. People often apply without making sure that they are a good fit. Our first study also showed that 60 percent of companies cited "too few applications" as the reason for the difficulty in filling vacancies. However, 85 percent of applicants are completely unsuitable. Half of the applicants lack technical knowledge of film and television in particular, as well as work organization and planning skills. They also lack budgeting and financing skills as well as communication skills.
In many places, creative professions are no longer as attractive just because they are creative - today, other things such as sustainability, diversity and much more count
CCB Magazine:According to the Prognos study, the shortage of skilled workers in the creative industries is particularly evident today in the fields of IT, architecture, model making, interior design, interior decoration, visual marketing and the book, art, antiques and music trade. How can we get to grips with the problems? What are the solutions?
Denise Grduszak:I can only speak for the areas we have investigated, and here it is clear that we need targeted entry and support programs. The first successful programs are already in place in Hamburg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria. A program for Berlin and Brandenburg will also be launched in spring. The Media Academy Berlin-Brandenburg also promotes lateral entry into the media industry and combines practical experience with targeted qualification programs. Companies are also to be supported in securing skilled workers. They need to become more attractive again. It is no longer enough to place a fruit basket on the table in the meeting room to keep employees happy. What we need are new working time models, permanent contracts and, above all, family-friendly models. This is especially true for the film industry, and companies themselves need to make changes, provide their employees with more qualifications and also support them financially. However, the prerequisite for this and for good working conditions is first and foremost adequate production budgets. Furthermore, training providers must create new training opportunities, as there are still far too few of these for the vacant positions in companies, and this also applies to training: Only 29 percent of the companies surveyed in our study offer apprenticeships at all.
CCB Magazine:Can the targeted immigration of skilled workers be a solution? In May 2023, almost 767,000 vacancies were registered in Germany. According to experts, around 400,000 immigrants are needed to tackle the shortage of skilled workers.
Denise Grduszak:Targeted immigration can be a partial solution, but above all we also need to win back the local workforce for the media professions - which is why the media professions also need to become more attractive. Everyone is involved: politicians, companies, but also the applicants themselves, who should make sure that the profession in question is right for them.
Applicants should make more sure that the profession in question is right for them
CCB Magazine:For a long time, Berlin had the image of being "poor but sexy", which was associated with the underpayment of entire professions in the cultural and creative industries. If an entire generation is now placing new demands on work and also demanding more money, aren't these ultimately good signs? Are we entering a new era where people are finally being paid enough for the kind of work they like?
Denise Grduszak:On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, we have high inflation and rising rents - in this sense, the unreasonable demands have only shifted. You might be able to choose more jobs on the labor market, but you can't find an apartment anymore.
CCB Magazine:What role does AI play? In the cultural professions, entire branches could disappear or change in such a way that the original jobs no longer exist. If there are too many vacancies, can't the robots just do it?
Denise Grduszak: It certainly won't come to that. In the media sector in particular, and especially on film sets, people will still be needed to do the work. AI will certainly change the world of work, but people with the skills to deal with AI will be needed above all.
CCB Magazine: In the USA, more than 11,000 screenwriters have gone on strike this year to demonstrate for pay rises, better working conditions and new regulations on the use of AI. Actors like Harrison Ford are already being rejuvenated by AI.
Denise Grduszak:Yes, but AI will not be able to replace humans in the future, especially not on set. And to come back to the shortage of skilled workers: We won't be able to close the gaps with it either. We need the entire set mentioned above to remedy this. No more and no less.
Category: Knowledge & Analysis
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