Industry association Bitkom: digital economy is growing as it was before Corona

Status: 11.01.2022 2:51 p.m.

The expansion of the digital infrastructure is advancing and providing growth and jobs. This is what the industry association Bitkom is assuming. But delivery bottlenecks and a shortage of skilled workers are a cause for concern.

Almost 40,000 new jobs are likely to be created in the German digital economy this year. That emerges from the economic forecast of the umbrella association Bitkom for the beginning of the year, which was presented today. According to this, the market for information technology (IT), telecommunications and entertainment electronics in this country is expected to grow by 3.6 percent to 184.9 billion euros. According to the Bitkom figures, sales in the digital market rose just as significantly last year: the volume grew by 3.9 percent to 178.4 billion euros. The main sales drivers here were the good business with IT hardware and software.

The growth rates have thus returned to the level before the corona crisis. According to Bitkom boss Achim Berg, 1.25 million people are currently employed in the industry. “That is significantly more than in the automotive industry, which has a little more than 800,000 employees,” said Berg. The corona crisis initially put a heavy burden on the industry, but it is also an opportunity: “The corona pandemic has given digitization momentum, and that stimulates the market”.

“Salaries are skyrocketing”

However, growth could be even higher if corona-related and sector-specific problems were not in the way. On the one hand, there is the shortage of skilled workers, which Berg estimates at over 100,000 jobs. According to Bitkom’s assessment, it is currently worsening massively. Especially in fast-growing software companies, but also across the board, there was a lack of skilled workers. The companies simply cannot find enough employees and are already making cuts in the requirements for applicants. These, in turn, can raise their demands: “The salaries shoot through the roof,” said Berg.

The second problem area in the industry is supply bottlenecks for components, especially semiconductors. In particular, chips for simple applications were missing, as Berg explained. There are anecdotes according to which a company has already bought hundreds of refrigerators and removed the chips they contain and built them into higher-quality products.

Germany, a digital dwarf

The German digital economy only plays a marginal role globally. Germany’s share of global spending on information and communication technology is estimated at 3.9 percent for the current year. The reason: In many other industrial countries such as the USA, but also in Asia, investments in digitization are growing faster.

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