60 per cent of vocational trainees complete their training at a family business

Providing the skilled workforce of tomorrow
Gruppe von Jugendlichen in der technischen Berufsausbildung mit Lehrer
Trainees with teacher © iStock / Phynart Studio

1 September 2023, Munich. This autumn, a new generation of vocational trainees started their first year of training – and not just at DAX-listed companies with their huge training programmes. Most vocational trainees in Germany complete their training at a family business.

80 per cent of the companies providing training are family businesses. And 58 per cent of all trainees complete their training at family-controlled companies – a total of 630,000 young people.

These figures were calculated by the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. On behalf of the Foundation for Family Businesses, the ZEW, together with the Institute for SME Research at the University of Mannheim, regularly collects key figures on the importance of family businesses for the economy (i.e. their share of all private companies, of all employees, of total turnover).

Training activities analysed for the first time

The latest Economic Significance study published today also includes figures from the Institute for Labour Market and Occupational Research in Nuremberg for the first time. This time, it was also possible to assess the extent of vocational training activities undertaken by family businesses.

Verteilung der Anzahl der Auszubildenden auf die Beschäftigungsklassen

Dr David Deißner, Managing Director of the Foundation for Family Businesses: “The study sheds light on the role that family businesses in particular play in creating a skilled labour pool for the future. So their needs count. Due to their often smaller size, they do not have the capacity for costly follow-up training. They urgently need well-trained school leavers.”

The Foundation for Family Businesses had already addressed this at the beginning of the year in its Country Index for Family Businesses, compiled by ZEW: In the area of labour costs, productivity and human capital, the greatest challenge in the coming years is likely to be securing the qualifications of the dwindling number of young talent for the German labour market. Recent results from the analysis conducted by the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB) regarding the educational success of primary school pupils in Germany are a wake-up call in this context.

Gewicht der Familienunternehmen in der deutschen privaten Wirtschaft

Qualifications and language training play a decisive role

The pandemic has apparently led to a further deterioration in primary school education, with the result that particularly children with language deficits often no longer even meet the minimum standards in German and maths. As a result, more and more children and young people find themselves on a path that hardly creates the conditions for them to be able to complete successful vocational training programmes later on.

Education policy must finally tackle the causes of this – also with the aim of ensuring that Germany remains an attractive location to operate a business – which certainly includes promoting the language skills of children with a foreign background at a very early age.

Related materials

Related publications

Grafiken aus der Studie

  • Gewicht der Familienunternehmen in der deutschen privaten Wirtschaft
  • Verteilung der Anzahl der Auszubildenden auf die Beschäftigungsklassen

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