The Renewable Energy Expansion and Its Effects on Vocational Education and Training and the Labour Market in Germany

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:48 PM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Robert HELMRICH , Qualification, Occupational Integration, Employment, Inst Vocational Education & Training, Bonn, Germany
Michael TIEMANN , Qualification, Occupational Integration, Employment, Inst Vocational Education and Training, Bonn, Germany
In Germany, the sector of renewable energies (RE) is currently experiencing enormous growth. Besides first estimations about the type of the expansion, energy mix, resulting demand for workers and new requirements for firms, the effect of the RE sector’s growth on the job structure and on skill requirements has not been sufficiently examined. 

Our proposal exemplifies results from an ongoing research project. Theoretically and empirically the study is based on a combination of three frameworks. We need to examine requirements on the level of the working place: Firms will have to structure their working places according to new requirements. Being able to describe occupational content and its links to new qualificational demands will put us in a position to examine a) what the new requirements for firms and employees are and b) what their effect on the occupational structure is.

The first reference framework draws on work by Prediger and others (c.f. Prediger/Swaney 2004) who developed dimensions – namely „people vs. things“ and „data vs. ideas“ - which are used to describe certain aspects of occupational contents and for graphing occupations. The second is the requirements on knowledge work by Volkholz and Köchling (2001), where the working population is partitioned according to the type of knowledge work of their employment, ranging from qualified workers to task flexible and innovative workers. The third reference framework is the task-approach by Autor and others (2003) about the share of routineness of occupations, which is an enhancement of the “Skill-Biased Technological Change“ approach.

Questions we address empirically (analyzing primary data of surveys of employees and firms) include:

-          What is the extent of RE on the labour market?

-          What characterizes jobs in RE?

-          Are there unequal chances for working in RE as opposed to other occupations?