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Personnel policy adjustments when apprentice positions are unfilled: Evidence from German establishment data

Tina Hinz (School of Business and Economics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 16 July 2019




German establishments face increasing difficulties in filling their apprentice positions. Thus, firms are less able to train (and later retain) their own skilled workforce. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the firms’ personnel policy adjustments in response to unfilled apprentice positions.


To estimate the within-firm personnel policy adjustments when unfilled apprentice positions arise, fixed effects panel estimations are applied to a large German establishment-level data set, the IAB Establishment Panel (2008–2016).


The estimates indicate that some firms post slightly more apprentice positions in the period after facing unfilled apprentice positions. Moreover, the results reveal that affected craft establishments in urban regions retain more apprenticeship graduates. Besides of these findings, there are no indications of emphasised personnel policy adjustments.

Practical implications

The multivariate results do not support the claim that training firms may abstain from apprenticeship training when facing unfilled apprentice positions.


The study shows first evidence of firms’ personnel policy adjustments when apprentice positions remain vacant in Germany, a country with a traditionally high relevance of apprenticeship training.



Hinz, T. (2019), "Personnel policy adjustments when apprentice positions are unfilled: Evidence from German establishment data", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 958-978.



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