The subject of shortage of skilled workers is certainly not new, but it is unproblematic as long as you are not affected by it yourself! However, companies that rely exclusively on specialists have to do the trick of replacing only the skilled workers on the staff who are going into well-earned retirement. This applies above all to medium-sized companies that are not located in the conurbations, but rather in rural regions.

If a company is innovative and also successful, the procurement of additional specialists becomes a real performance competition in which much more is decisive than company success, skill and ingenuity. If a company is innovative and, moreover, successful, the procurement of additional specialists becomes a real competition in which much more is decisive than company success, skill and ingenuity. We are talking here about a number of factors that result from the regional situation, but which cannot be influenced, or can only be influenced indirectly, by the companies.

Our company has been extremely successful for 30 years now, because we are engaged in the development and construction of energy-saving plants and systems and this technology is increasingly in demand due to the worldwide development of energy costs. So far, so good, ...who doesn't like to be successful? In current times, however, the question arises: Where do we produce the highly qualified employees necessary for continuous growth? We are not a group, but a medium-sized company with 330 employees. Our company is not based in Cologne, but in Lindlar, in the beautiful countryside of the Bergische Land...but in the countryside! For us, the focus topic 1 is therefore the procurement of employees with the appropriate qualifications and in the necessary numbers.

On the part of the company, a lot has already been thought of in order to meet this topic at least to a certain extent. Today more than ever, we not only have to be an attractive employer, but we also have to communicate this to our target group through an appropriate external image. We simply have to talk more about it. Even if we are as innovative as we may be, if our products and services have been successfully evaluated as outstanding worldwide and if we have received awards in a wide variety of business competitions - if no one else but ourselves knows this, it will be of little use in terms of attracting new employees.

The motto is: "Be an attractive employer and talk about it!" The possibilities are manifold and range from the placement of company news in the local press to an Internet presence.

An often underestimated potential of specialists can be found in the group of older people. Our managing partner Wolfgang Oehm discovered this age group for our company years ago: "For me, older employees are stainless steels and not old iron! Older employees in particular have a lot of experience, are very reliable and are less susceptible to side winds. They also appreciate the high value of a good and secure job on the basis of their life and work experience.

The healthy age mix of older, experienced employees and young employees has developed into a successful model for us over many years. After all, we are talking here about the majority of the approximately 150 employees who we have brought out of unemployment over the years and who were already over 50 years old. As a medium-sized company, we see it as our social responsibility to give older jobseekers in particular a chance. And believe me, it is incredibly good to see how a person who has just been in existential need suddenly has room for a smile on his face again and can look forward to a secure job as his second home.

Another focus of our company is the training of junior staff. Well-trained people are our greatest asset and an essential prerequisite for maintaining Germany as a business location! With a trainee ratio of around 10 percent, we give our trainees the opportunity to gain the qualifications beyond the normal training framework that allow them to start their careers with the best possible conditions. The "Top Training Company" competition, in which we were awarded the honorary prize of the Cologne Chamber of Crafts and Trades from among the more than 33,000 member companies, is certainly an excellent advertisement for our company, which is impressively reflected by the large number of applicants for the available training places.

We believe that we have a lot to do in terms of recruiting skilled workers and training skilled workers, and yet we do not succeed in filling all vacancies with skilled workers either! A major handicap here is certainly the regional structure and the lack of attractiveness of the rural region, which is felt especially in the age group of 20 to 45 year-olds. Here, politics is certainly in demand to a certain extent when it comes to creating fast transport connections to the conurbations. In many places, districts and municipalities have recognised the problem and set some things in motion - only the implementation takes time! For us, this means that it is necessary to make use of all possibilities and at the same time to go new ways in order to keep the shortage of skilled workers for our company at as low a level as possible - a real challenge that we must face now and in the future with even more strength!