In the fight against the shortage of skilled workers, the start-up industry is demanding more attractive rules for employee participation from politicians. Despite all the crises, start-ups planned an average of nine new hires, but the search for personnel is becoming increasingly difficult, according to the tenth “German Startup Monitor”, which the Federal Association of German Startups presented on Thursday in Berlin.
The shortage of skilled workers among start-ups has worsened again and is a central challenge for almost 35 percent of start-ups. Almost 2000 German start-ups participated in the survey in cooperation with the auditing company PwC and the University of Duisburg Essen.
In the study a year ago, almost 27 percent of start-ups described the shortage of skilled workers as a central problem, in 2020 it had been only 17 percent.
As a strategy against the shortage of skilled workers, 92 percent of start-ups with more than 25 employees demanded more attractive regulations for employee participation from the legislator, according to the study.
“Germany is in last place in Europe in terms of conditions for employee participation. This is a serious disadvantage for the German start-up location,“said Association Managing Director Franziska Teubert. The industry is urgently dependent on employee participation in the global competition for talent.
Franziska Teubert: Rules on employee participation are not practical
Employee participation, for example through company shares, can be lucrative for employees of start-ups. The prospect of a subsequent IPO or the sale of a start-up to investors (“exit”) for a lot of money offers employees a great incentive.
But the rules on employee participation, which came into force a year ago, are impractical, says Teubert, Managing Director of the startup association. Previous proposals by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) were also insufficient. For example, employees with company shares continue to face taxation, even if no money has been spent on an exit.
This taxation of imaginary income happens at the change of job or at the latest after twelve years. In addition, larger start-ups would be completely excluded from the rules. Even an increase in the annual tax allowances does not help start-ups, because it is about one-time proceeds in the event of an exit. Teubert therefore called for a second attempt to improve the conditions for employee participation.
Founders work an average of 55 hours per week
Another lever in recruiting for the industry is to attract more women. According to the study, the proportion of female founders has risen from just under 18 to 20 percent, but is still low. At the employee level, the proportion of women was significantly higher at 37 percent, but also lower than in the German working population (almost 47 percent).
This is also due to the fact that it is difficult to reconcile the company and the family. While only 61 percent of entrepreneurs stated that they were satisfied with the compatibility of both, only 51 percent of female founders were satisfied. The workload in the industry is also relatively high: founders work an average of 55 hours per week, according to the start-up monitor.
The federal Government wants to promote Germany as a location for start-ups by, among other things, facilitating access to venture capital. “The start-up ecosystem is robust despite the current crises, but we must not rest on our laurels,” said Anna Christmann, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Start-ups.