In many companies there is a shortage of personnel. The work remains undone because there are not enough employees available to complete it. The consequences are shown in a study by DAK Gesundheit. Almost 45 percent of the approximately 7,000 respondents across Germany stated that they regularly experience staff shortages in their own workplace. Those affected complain of high deadlines and performance pressure, overtime and few breaks.

Therefore, employers are desperately seeking strategies to attract new skilled workers and retain existing ones. The most recent example: a public agency in Munich has been desperately searching for media educators for months. Although the positions have been advertised for months, only a handful of people have applied. “This wouldn't have existed before,” says one human resources employee.

This is not an isolated case. In many cities, public pools are looking for lifeguards and lifeguards at the beginning of the outdoor swimming season. When outdoor pools open in a few weeks, there must be enough qualified lifeguards at the edge of the pool; Otherwise, as in previous years, there is a risk that some pools will be temporarily closed.

In the main German cities, problems are increasing when applying for new identity documents and passports. Citizens who need a new identity document have to accept long waiting times. Sometimes they have to wait two to five weeks to get an appointment. This situation is especially aggravated before the Christmas season, when many people want to renew their travel documents.

State governments and municipal administrations are taking countermeasures. In many places, measures have already been taken to speed up processes, for example by introducing online appointments and increasing capacity in citizens' offices. However, the situation remains tense.

Big differences in tax returns

The lack of staff also affects the processing of tax returns. The time that tax offices need to process a tax return also depends, for example, on where those affected live and the staff situation there. This is demonstrated by a study that the tax portal of the Income Tax compact carries out year after year. According to the results, between the submission of the tax return and the tax refund, between 50 and 69 days pass on average, depending on the federal state.

The country comparison shows: The tax offices of Rhineland-Palatinate worked the fastest in 2023 (49.97 processing days), closely followed by the tax offices of Hamburg (50.01), North Rhine-Westphalia (50. 06) and Berlin (51.36). Brandenburg's tax offices are at the bottom in terms of speed, with an average of 68.85 processing days per tax return.

Last year, the Berlin figures caused a stir. Subsequently, the capital's tax offices were missing more than 400 full-time employees. A current look at job advertisements shows that the situation remains tense. Similar deficits were also found in Brandenburg. “Especially now, when economic growth and tax revenues are collapsing, consistent measures must be taken against tax evasion and tax evasion,” said Berlin Finance Senator Stefan Evers. Among other things, he proposed carrying out an advertising campaign in the Treasury offices to find interested parties. “Many of our older colleagues are being asked to delay their retirement in order to cope with the workload,” explains a human resources manager in Munich.

School classes are canceled

The number of canceled classes in Saxon schools in the first half of this school year was higher than in previous years. According to statistics from the Saxon Ministry of Culture, around 8.8 percent of classes were not held regularly. The reason for this was a combination of staff shortages, high levels of illness and strikes. “The vicious cycle of understaffing and overloading in schools continues. That is why the Free State has to spend additional money on an educational package,” says Burkhard Naumann of the GEW.

Staff shortages could worsen in coming years

According to the German Civil Service Association (DBB), public services are at increased risk. “The state lacks more than 550,000 employees and the situation is getting worse as baby boomers retire,” DBB head Ulrich Silberbach said at the beginning of the year. And the situation could get worse, because according to current DBB figures, more than 1.3 million employees will retire in the next ten years.

“The shortage of personnel endangers the ability of the State and the administration to act,” said Silberbach. There are hardly any vacancies left to fill. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find staff, even for attractive management positions.” There are personnel problems in traditional administration, in IT departments, in nurseries, in city cleaning or in building authorities.

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