Transformation in the auto industry set to cause job losses

    Berlin/ Munich, May 04, 2021

    ifo Institute study says at least 215,000 jobs may be lost by 2030 –Find socially acceptable speed for transformation – Embracing all technologies will drive jobs

    The transformation of the German automotive sector towards e-mobility may cost more jobs than the number of employees retiring in the next few years – even without including the consequences of the current hasty discussion of a new climate protection law. At least 178,000 employees will be affected by 2025, and at least 215,000 jobs by 2030 – based merely on the existing climate protection laws. Part of the impact can be absorbed as employees reach retirement age, but the number of jobs available still leaves a considerable gap. Around 75,000 employees will go into retirement by 2025. By 2030, the age-related fluctuation will affect approx. 147,000 workers. These are the findings of a study by the German ifo Institute on behalf of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

    “The figures show just what a huge challenge we are facing when it comes to adapting, especially in the period up to 2025. More than 200,000 jobs could be lost at small and mid-sized suppliers by 2030, which cannot be re-created under current conditions. In addition, heavy taxes and levies, high energy costs and insufficient investment in education continually push Germany back in the international competition among industrial locations. We are falling behind and our regulatory conditions do not promote either innovation or investment to a sufficient degree. We must use the opportunity to make our climate policy into a motor that drives growth and jobs by innovating and embracing all technologies. This is the only way that Germany will regain its lead and safeguard employment,” declared VDA President Hildegard Müller.

    Decisive climate-policy decisions are on the agenda, both in Germany and in Europe. “We need a clear impact assessment of the legislation, openness to all technologies, and innovations, if we are to overcome the challenges as efficiently as possible. We are backing the heavy investments in the ramp-up of e-mobility, along with hydrogen and e-fuels. These areas have major potential for innovation and employment. And with these technologies, combustion engines can also be climate-neutral. Our companies are driving the transformation – with conviction and creativity. Politicians should recognize these opportunities,” Müller stated.

    The ifo Institute study estimates that in the German auto industry around 75,000 production workers will retire by 2025, including some 39,000 people directly employed in vehicle assembly, and the others in the manufacture of parts. But in 2025 at least 178,000 employees would be affected by the transition to electric motors (as they work in the manufacture of products depending either directly or indirectly on combustion engines, 137,000 of them in the vehicle industry) if the production of cars with combustion engines falls as sharply as the climate regulations currently require. By 2030, a total of 147,000 production workers will retire, around 73,000 on them in vehicle assembly; but at least 215,000 – 165,000 of them directly employed in the auto industry – work in the manufacture of products related to combustion engines.

    “In times of transformation in particular, every government should aim to lead the international competition between locations, so that production, employment and prosperity are created here and not elsewhere,” Müller said.

    Simon Schütz
    VDA – Communication and Media
    +49 160 95900967                              

    Harald Schultz
    ifo Institute
    +49 89 9224-1218