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Number of university graduates continues to grow in Germany

Author  :       Source  :    Xinhua     2018-08-24

The number of university graduates continues to grow in Germany, official figures published on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) showed.

According to the Wiesbaden-based government agency, 501,734 students graduated from universities and other higher education institutions in the country in 2017. The figure marked a two percent increase compared to 2016 and the 16th consecutive annual expansion measured since 2001.

The Office noted that the most popular subjects chosen by graduates in the year 2017 fell into the disciplines of the legal and social sciences (40 percent). Around a quarter of German students received degrees in engineering-related fields (26 percent), while mathematics and natural sciences accounted for eleven percent of the total. Six percent of degrees were conferred to medical graduates.

Around half of the graduates assessed in the study left their places of learning with a Bachelor's degree. However, statisticians highlighted that the number of individuals who completed Master's degrees rose sharply by 10 percent to 136,500.

The overall findings were reflective of growing demand from German employers for highly-qualified staff.

The Federal Statistical Office has recently warned that some sectors of the economy, such as health-care and nursing in particular, face serious shortage of skilled workers.

The German Economic Institute (IW) estimates that around 444,000 open positions for qualified workers were vacant during the first quarter of 2018.

Some German business representatives have now welcomed proposals by the federal government for a new law to ease restrictions on the immigration of skilled workers to Germany to fill gaps currently left unfilled by the native graduates which the country's education system produces.

Speaking to newspaper Handelsblatt, Eric Schweitzer, president of the the Association of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), urged the federal government to treat the matter as a policy priority.

"Now we need a concrete elaboration on the vague outlines -- easier access to the labor market for professionally-qualified foreigners can help alleviate worker shortages in many industries," Schweitzer said.

Meanwhile, some labor representatives, such as teachers' unions, have called on domestic higher education institutions to make additional places available to students in order to provide employers with the workers they need.

Heinz-Peter Meidinger, the president of the Association of German Teachers, estimated that there was a current shortage of 40,000 teachers at the start of the upcoming school year and blamed universities which were unresponsive to labor market developments for the situation.

Editor: Li Yujie

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