• A new survey by the IU International University of Applied Sciences shows that almost 40 per cent of job seekers no longer see a way out of unemployment.
  • Also, around 40 per cent say that they do see an opportunity in their unemployment situation, especially to find a job they really like as an example.
  • Around 85 per cent say they are interested in further education or vocational training. However, two-thirds cannot find suitable offers, especially in the fields of nursing care and IT.

Erfurt, 31 May 2021 - The new "Unemployment Trend Survey" by IU International University of Applied Sciences shows that hope and despair go hand in hand among people who have been unemployed for a maximum of two years or are about to become unemployed. According to the survey, almost 40 per cent currently rate their prospects of finding a new job as poor to very poor. Just as many see their unemployment as an opportunity, for example, to think about their professional future or to find a job they really like. But the study identifies several obstacles along the way.

For example, psychological stress makes it difficult to return to permanent employment: more than half say they suffer emotionally from the situation (52.5 per cent). Many feel without drive and have difficulties starting the day at all (42.4 per cent). "The psychological burden of unemployment and short-time work is not surprising, but it is worrying. To be able to perform well and maintain their health in the long term, people need a stable positive attitude in their lives. Measures during unemployment and short-time work should therefore also take people's mental state into account and promote optimism, hope and a positive attitude towards life", says Prof. Dr. Regina Cordes, head of New Work study programme and prorector at IU International University of Applied Sciences.

Too old for the future?

Around two-thirds of the respondents fear being potentially disadvantaged when looking for a job, most of them because of their age (25.5 per cent). The second most common reason among those who do not want to continue their education is also that they feel too old for it (37.1 per cent). "At what point is one too old for further education or a new job? The question itself is discriminatory and also economically damaging because this age is often set quite low, at 50 or even 40. This not only robs those who want to continue their education of their chance for professional development, but deliberately decimates the employment potential of a large group of labour market participants", says Prof. Dr. Anastasia Hermann, Professor of Human Resource Management at IU International University of Applied Sciences.

Basically, the will to invest in one's own future is there: 85.1 per cent of the respondents are interested in further education or training. The vast majority (62.4 per cent) are willing to spend 21 to 40 hours a week on further education or training. The most important motivation is to find a new job (49.9 per cent). But many also hope to be able to work more flexibly through continuing education (34.1 per cent) or to change their career completely (30.1 per cent).

The greatest interest in continuing education is in the areas of health, IT and technology. However, two-thirds say they cannot find an offer that suits them. According to the survey, this is mainly due to the content (37.3 per cent), but also because the offers are too far away from their place of residence (25.1 per cent) or do not respond flexibly enough to their life situation (13.8 per cent). According to the survey, optimal continuing education is primarily digital (49 per cent) as well as a combination of face-to-face and online instruction (28 per cent).

However, the digital skills of the respondents have not yet arrived in today's world: More than half say they have no basic knowledge of agile project management, software programming, data science or cyber security. "The future is becoming increasingly digital, also for job seekers. Further education or training must start exactly where digital skills are needed. The skills that are already available are largely limited to the use of everyday tools. Everything that goes beyond that and that could significantly increase labour market opportunities needs to be learned," says Prof. Regina Cordes.

About the survey

With the "Unemployment Trend Survey", IU International University of Applied Sciences explores reasons for unemployment as well as the prospects for people affected by unemployment. Almost 1900 job seekers, people threatened by unemployment or short-time workers with no prospect of returning to normal working hours in the near future took part in the survey. Every third jobseeker has been unemployed for up to three months, and every fourth jobseeker has been unemployed for four to six months and seven to twelve months respectively. 17.4 per cent have been unemployed for up to two years. Job seekers who have been unemployed for more than 24 months were excluded from the survey.

Click here for the survey: Unemployment Trend Survey

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