Ausbildungsplatzpotentialanalyse 2005: Apprenticeship training positions in young and newly founded enterprises: Empirical research and results from Germany

Ansprechpartner: Dipl.-Kfm. Patrick Saßmannshausen, Research-Assistent: Daniel Reinert

Principal Topic
Many publications on the effects of entrepreneurial activities on the labour market are available. But there are almost no contributions made on the sub-item according to the effects on the number or quality of offered apprenticeship training positions. In Germany for some years the supply of apprenticeship training positions (ATPs) cannot catch up with the demand created by young high-school graduates. This results in the problem of unemployment of the young.
Primarily the aim of this empirical study is to find out more about the entrepreneurs behaviour and attitude in connexion with offering ATPs. What makes entrepreneurs in newly founded or young companies offer ATPs? Are there any correlations or dependencies or causal connexions on the start-ups’ success, the companies’ size, age, industry, or entrepreneurs’ market expectations? What are the restraints that keep entrepreneurs away from offering ATPs? In public discussion industrial organisations and unions argue heatedly about the level of apprenticeship pay, administrative / red tape barriers or the productivity of ATPs. Do such factors have an influence on the entrepreneurs’ decision on installing ATPs? And to what extend?
The second aim of the study is to deduce proposals how the number of ATPs in young and newly founded companies could be increased.

The research design is the one of an empirical field research. First key experts (from the Federal Employment Office, Chamber of Crafts, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, industry organizations, etc.) responsible for the issue of ATPs were interviewed to build the hypotheses that should be tested. A two pages mail questionnaire was developed and sent to 4.000 entrepreneurs who run companies not older than seven years and located in a county called “Bergisches Land” in the midwest of Germany. More than 370 answers were received. To test any influence of the poll, additional 280 entrepreneurs had been involved in a telephone survey of whom 75 participated. The analyses have been done using Excel and SPSS. They have been carried out for the total number of respondents as well as for sub groups which were build up systematically, separated by industries, start-up category etc. The results are presented in four chapters: Firstly the descriptive results are shown. Then the outcomes of testing the hypotheses are presented along with some more surprising findings. At last before the conclusions, some proposals are given to the address of vested interests and the government as well as to the entrepreneurs.

Results and Implications
Start-ups obtain a considerable contribution to the supply of ATPs within the German economy. For many experts and lobbyists surprising results were provided. 165 out of the 475 entrepreneurs offer a total number of 557 ATPs. They initiated training programs already approx. 2.1 years after starting their venture. From all tested hypotheses build on the (mis-) estimation of the key experts, only company-internal, operational reasons have a statistically strong impact on the question if ATPs are established. Other reasons which are known from the public respectively political discussion like the above mentioned level of apprenticeship pay, administrative / red tape barriers or the productivity of ATPs have only very little influence. (The level of STP salary seems to be restrictive within the construction industry only). There is a strong correlation between company size and ATPs only in the group of companies with zero employees! The companies’ success, measured by the entrepreneurs’ satisfaction with his company’s performance and development, has no strong influence on implementing ATPs. What has a strong statistical significant influence is the question if an entrepreneur has made considerable experience with ATP before starting up his venture, to some surprise even though this personal experience was negative. Women entrepreneurs offer ATPs on a statistical higher level than their male counterparts. The chances to increase the number of ATPs by governmental action might be small: Programs or information that bring the entrepreneurs in touch with ATPs and show the benefit for his individual company may will have a bigger impact than new restrictions or financial allowances or taxes.

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