Skip to content

New approaches to recruiting young talent

Germany is one of the leading industrialized countries, but many industrial companies are increasingly struggling with a shortage of young talent – including in the training sector. Year after year, the so-called MINT gap between the demand for qualified workers and the available supply is growing. In addition, many companies are complaining about the declining qualifications of applicants. For small and medium-sized companies in particular, it is becoming increasingly important to be perceived as an attractive employer by the younger generation.

Traditional methods are often not enough to meet the increasing demand for qualified specialists. On 16 May 2024, ProduktionNRW organized an exchange of experiences at Gebr. Becker GmbH to identify new ways of recruiting young talent.

What makes young people tick, what measures are recommended?

Stefan Grötzschel, a consultant in the VDMA education department, emphasized that the labour shortage is one of the top 3 challenges facing members. In addition to the retirement of the baby boomers in the coming years, the number of students and trainees is also falling.

In order to be perceived as an attractive employer by the younger generation, the VDMA has analyzed numerous youth studies and conducted them itself. It turned out that this generation is characterized, for example, by the values of orientation, security and self-determination. It is also becoming apparent that pupils are often overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a career or course of study. This is why they predominantly choose professions and courses of study that they know from their immediate environment.

Young people want companies to support them in their career guidance. This results in various measures for recruiting young talent, such as support with career information and the offer of internships, which have proven to be the best recruitment tool.

Practical example: personality development at Gebr. Becker GmbH

Marco Hausmann, Head of People & Organizational Development and Head of Training at Gebr. Becker GmbH, presented the company’s new HR approach, which covers the entire career path of employees from career entry to retirement.

There is a particular focus on personal development, including in the area of training. Career starters regularly take part in workshops on self-reflection, communication skills, time management and creativity. After starting their careers, a development program follows that focuses on talent identification and retention, talent development and succession planning.

In the discussion that followed, it was emphasized that Gebr. Becker GmbH in Wuppertal faces many competitors – this poses an additional challenge in the context of the shortage of skilled workers. In order to be perceived as an attractive employer, the company is therefore investing heavily in personnel development.

NEST-BildungsBar – inspiring young people to take up an apprenticeship

Mike Stoeck and Patrick Nekola-Ossé, founders of NEST-BildungsBar, presented their approach to raising the profile of vocational training. In Wuppertal, the two founders have opened a bar for career guidance and job application training. In a relaxed atmosphere, young people can find out about various training occupations and regional companies. The BildungsBar also provides support with application documents, career planning and connects applicants with companies.

In the experience of the NEST BildungsBar, young people have particular difficulties when making phone calls and at their first job interview. It is therefore advisable to give applicants quick feedback and offer simple, transparent application procedures. An initial meeting via video conference can lower the inhibition threshold. Training ambassadors help to provide information about training occupations and establish direct contact with potential applicants.

Exchange of experiences on new ways of recruiting young talent

In the final exchange of experiences, the expectations of companies and applicants were compared. The groups worked out what expectations both sides have of career sites, advertising and application processes. The exercise took up many aspects of the previous presentations, such as the need for a simple and clear design of the careers page from the perspective of the younger generation. It became clear that it is easier for companies to focus on the needs of the younger generation.


The event was organized by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organized by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks with each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.