Engineers drive innovation in Germany. This is the result of a survey by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW Köln) in cooperation with the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI, or Association of German Engineers). According to this survey the five sectors in Germany with the highest proportion of engineers among their employees produce innovations worth around 73 billion euros every year. This is equivalent to more than 60 per cent of the expenditure on innovations made by the entire economy. Merely 12 per cent of employees in Germany work in these sectors.
According to the study these five innovations sectors are technical services and services in research and development, the electrical industry, mechanical engineering, vehicle construction and IT/telecommunications. At 562 billion euros the companies in these five sectors generated around 45 per cent of all German export income from trade in goods and services in 2011. In addition, these branches of industry achieved a foreign trade surplus of 223 billion euros – 47 per cent more than the entire economy put together, because other sectors posted a foreign trade deficit. According to information from the VDI a total of 1.6 million engineers work in Germany’s companies.