Future viability of the Westerwald region

Career opportunities for young people often remain undiscovered

[Translate to Englisch:] Foto: Westerwald Touristik-Service

A recent study by WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management comes to the conclusion that the Westerwald offers a large number of attractive training places with first-class companies. Tragic: Almost 65 percent of the young people in the region do not even know about the excellent career opportunities in their home country. As a result, many potential trainees will probably move away, even though they would have liked to stay in the Westerwald.

The study was carried out by Prof. Dr. Christina Günther and Nicole Gottschalck, both members of the IHK Chair for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. They interviewed 866 young people from the 9th to the 13th grade at a total of 15 schools in the districts of Westerwaldkreis, Altenkirchen and Neuwied on the subject of training place and career choice. 133 companies were also asked about their views on the training situation in the region.

One of the most astounding results of the survey is that half of the young people surveyed do not want to leave the Westerwald at all or only reluctantly in search of a training place or a job. At the same time, however, it also became clear that potential trainees were looking for a potential employer within a relatively large radius of their home town, but found very little information about the large number of companies and jobs actually available. When asked how they assess the chances of achieving their career goals in the Westerwald, 36 percent were optimistic, 32 percent pessimistic and 32 percent were also uncertain about the future prospects in the region.

In stark contrast to this was the assessment of career opportunities for young people on the part of local companies. 77 percent of the companies surveyed rate the situation as "very good" or "good" - and are quite right. The Westerwald is home to many so-called hidden champions and successful family businesses, some of which are active worldwide. A quarter of the companies have at least one location abroad - a fact that would be positively received by a good third of the young people. One in three would like to have the opportunity to gain experience abroad.

A serious problem, however, is above all the disorientation of the young people:  Almost half of them are uncertain about their own interests and talents. Only 20 percent of those surveyed stated that they had no particular difficulties with vocational orientation. The companies, on the other hand, have difficulties in applying for their vacancies in a way that is appropriate for their target groups. 44 per cent of the employers surveyed currently have unfilled training places.

The study, which was carried out with the support of the three districts of Westerwald, ADG, ewm, Schütz, Hachenburger Brauerei and Westerwald Bank, shows that young people and companies definitely want to find each other, but use many different communication and information channels. The study offers an excellent basis for companies in the Westerwald - but also for comparable rural regions - to advertise their attractive training offers to the true needs and wishes of young people. The study made one thing particularly clear: the Westerwald region offers first-class career opportunities that young people would definitely like to take advantage of - if they knew about them.

Download the paper „Zukunftsfähigkeit der Region Westerwald“ (German only)