Berlin is the German digital capital – Saxony is catching up

Berlin has its nose in front of the digitization in a country comparison. The distance of the capital to Hamburg and Bremen, which occupy the second and third place in the current digitization index in Germany, is large. The nationwide tail light currently forms Thuringia.

Another new state is doing much better: Especially in the past two years Saxony has caught up in terms of digitalization, the researchers of the Competence Center Public IT at the Fraunhofer Institute, which presented the Index 2019 on Monday in Berlin.

Where the differences are still big

For the years 2017 to 2019, according to the index, a nationwide convergence of digital living conditions can be observed, especially with regard to infrastructure and private Internet usage. On the other hand, if you look at the economy and the online offers of local governments, the differences are still very large.

For their index, the researchers not only looked at the broadband expansion and other infrastructure data, but also many other indicators taken into account, such as the number of computer science students in a state or unoccupied IT jobs.


In addition, they asked local authorities about their public WLAN offer and examined over 300 municipal web portals. They found that business registrations are now possible in 37 percent of municipalities. On the other hand, the option to submit an application online only offers one in ten municipal web portals.

Hesse has the lead in filling IT jobs

According to the index, digital administration works better in Hamburg than in any other state. The researchers, who have analyzed, among other things, the cooperation between the various administrative levels and the clarity of the information available online, place Berlin in second place just behind Hamburg. Then follow – with some distance – North Rhine-Westphalia and Bremen. Saxony-Anhalt occupies last place.

Safe: without fast Internet and powerful mobile networks, it does not work. But those who want to catch up in the digital world must also create a working and living environment in which the IT specialists so desperately in search of themselves feel comfortable.

Also interesting: “Many computer scientists are frustrated by the job search”

A survey conducted by the Federal Employment Agency in June 2018 shows that companies in Hesse have the fewest problems in filling jobs in the IT and communications industry. There were just under nine unfilled vacancies for every 1,000 employees subject to social security contributions. In Hamburg there were ten, in Berlin, the Federal Agency had just under 14 vacancies. In Thuringia, there were nearly 30 unfilled vacancies in the industry for 1,000 employees. In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 26 professionals were missing.

The Fraunhofer Institute explains: “In order to prevent the shortage of skilled workers, which is very different in regional terms, from becoming a brake on growth, further measures are required in terms of education, but also for the recruitment and retention of skilled workers.”

The digital policy spokesman of the FDP parliamentary group, Manuel Höferlin, said that the lack of IT professionals is “simply embarrassing for Europe’s leading industrialized nation”. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) and his party colleague Digital State Minister Dorothee Baer should ensure that all people in Germany have access to fast Internet, and not “posing for beautiful glossy photos next to the Airbus flight taxi”.

Enthusiasm for social media is no longer unbroken

In the past year, the employees of the Competence Center Public IT also asked some representative selected municipalities in each state whether they had public WLAN hotspots. Here, too, the city states are again at the top. The requested municipalities in Schleswig-Holstein, however, all reported back: there is no free Wi-Fi with us.

For Thuringia, the researchers calculated an average share of five percent. Accordingly, the number of public hotspots in Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, Rhineland-Palatinate, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is relatively low. North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Bavaria have an above-average offer for free surfing in public areas.

And another thing the researchers said: The enthusiasm for social media is no longer unbroken in Germany. According to them, the proportion of people using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Co. increased only slightly in the Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg between 2015 and 2017. In all other federal states, the proportion of users fell in the same period – sometimes by up to 18 percent.

In 2017, only 38 percent of Brandenburg residents said they were on social media. That was the lowest value nationwide. The leader in social media was Rhineland-Palatinate with 60 percent users. The fact that the East German states, with the exception of Berlin, reached all levels of less than 50 percent, may also be due to the fact that especially many young people had migrated from these regions in recent decades.

Also interesting: Study: Vienna and London lead the digital ranking

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