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European Year of Skills
News article14 June 20243 min read

How to facilitate the job-to-job transition by social dialogue in Germany

 A large supplier for the automotive industry in Germany is cutting jobs due to the transformation. At the same time, small and medium-sized companies in the same region are desperately looking for skilled workers.

DE NC Article

It is expected that in the coming years, we will encounter this simultaneous reduction of jobs in some sectors and the need for skilled labour in others even more frequently. 

During the European Year of Skills National Coordinators' meeting on November 29, France and Germany shared their experience on the crucial topic of job-to-job transition. This choice was motivated by three reasons: 

  • Recognizing the importance of training and acknowledging career trajectories in addressing this pressing issue. 
  • The OECD's projection that 1/3 of people will need to switch jobs within the next decade. 
  • Acknowledging that job transition impacts individuals across all age groups and various professions. 

These points underscore the urgency of discussing strategies for navigating job transitions effectively. This article talks about a dialogue process conducted by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs with the Federal Employment Agency and social partners to discuss job-to-job transitions by qualification.  

Initial position 

Skills development is a central success factor to reduce skilled labour shortages and to cope with transformation. The Act on Strengthening the Promotion of Vocational Training and Skills (so called Skills Act), which largely entered into force on 1 April 2024 in Germany, provides, i. a., for a comprehensive reform of the support system for employees' skills development. The transformation processes of the national economy, however, which are accelerated by digitalisation, decarbonisation and demographic change, are likely to lead to a situation where not all employees will be able to perform new tasks in the same company after a transformation. Rather, some of employees affected by change will need to undergo a reskilling programme or adapt their skills to work with another employer, possibly in another sector.  

The dialogue process 

In the framework of the parliamentary procedure linked to the Skills Act, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs was asked to conduct an open dialogue process with social partners on achieving a direct job-to-job transition through skills development. Together with representatives of the Federal Employment Agency and social partners, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs analysed practical examples, barriers and incentives in bilateral discussions and in two workshops using agile methods. The Ministry then summarised the discussion of the dialogue process in a report for the Parliament. 

The participants agreed that there is currently no need to adapt the statutory support instruments. They   favoured the following approaches: 

  • The existing instruments need to be more widely known (through national, regional and sector-based contributions)  
  • Matching needs to be improved, i.e. facilitate finding employers who want to reduce their workforce and employers wishing to hire new staff 
  • Creating a reliable and legally secure opportunity for trial work in the receiving company. This allows both the employees concerned and the hiring employers to reduce uncertainties regarding job-to-job transition and to identify any necessary skills adaptations  

The added value 

The social dialogue has helped to strengthen the collective sense of responsibility of the actors involved. There is agreement that job-to-job qualification is crucial for successfully managing transformation. It can succeed if all parties join forces, including national, regional and sector-specific approaches. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has recently launched a follow up process of the social dialogue to deepen the identified common actions and potential solutions together.  

The article has been written by: The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Germany: The National Coordinator for the European Year of Skills and the Division “Skills, Vocational Training and Securing a Skilled Labour Force”. 



Publication date
14 June 2024