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Tinder against the shortage of skilled workers

Castle on a hill

Hellenstein Castle is the landmark of the city of Heidenheim. With the campaign #ausliebezumjob, it is looking for trainees. Photo: City of Heidenheim

People search for the big love on Tinder, the city of Heidenheim an der Brenz for young trainees. How did you come up with the idea?

Michael Salomo: We have an acute shortage of young people. According to a PwC study, there will be a shortage of one million skilled workers in the public sector by 2030. Special times call for special measures. The idea of signing up as a city council on Tinder is intended to appeal to precisely the young people we are so desperately looking for: Apprentices and young professionals.

Did the job match marketing via Tinder work out? And is your city dating profile still active?

Michael Salomo: We gained enormous reach for our apprenticeships as well as for the city administration itself through the campaign, and we even received an unsolicited application in which the young man applied for a job that was called "Main thing at the Heidenheim city administration." So I can already confirm that the campaign is a success. In September, the application deadline for the coming year is, then we can also measure by concrete figures, whether and how many new applications have come. Our dating profile is still active. So anyone who comes across "Heide N. Heim" should definitely swipe right.

Mayor Michael Salomo. Photo: City of Heidenheim

Mayor Michael Salomo. Photo: City of Heidenheim

It's been in the press that you're looking for employees via a dating app. The labor shortage is an issue for many municipalities - what advice do you have for cities and communities that are desperately looking for people?

Michael Salomo: Of course, the issue of a shortage of skilled workers is not unique to the Heidenheim municipality. Many other municipalities are also stepping up measures to attract new applicants. In our case, it has paid off to take a chance and break new ground. Be it by signing up on a dating platform or setting up a TikTok account.

The Tinder campaign wasn't Heidenheim's first foray into the world of Gen Z. You have a city influencer and a TikTok channel - when it comes to communicating via social media, no one can fool you. And yet, for many, suddenly having their hometown show up in their feed is new. What is there to consider if a municipality wants to focus more on social media communication?

Michael Salomo: I see opportunities for municipalities above all in the use of social media. The chance for outsiders to get to know the administration better and the chance to make information accessible to a broader section of the population. A municipality is always close to its citizens and provides support in numerous situations. To show presence in everyday life through social media seems to me not only important, but necessary.

The Smart Country Convention is stepping up to accelerate the digitization of administration in Germany. How digital is Heidenheim an der Brenz, actually?

Michael Salomo: Since 2020, we have been part of the intermunicipal smart city model project Aalen-HeidenheimGemeinsamDigital. The aim is to sustainably improve the quality of life and work in the cities of Aalen and Heidenheim with the help of digital technologies. The federal government is providing €17.5 million in funding for this until 2027, giving us the opportunity to play a pioneering role in digital urban development in the Ostwürttemberg region and beyond, thus tapping the potential of digitization for the common good.

Thank you very much for the interview.

The search for young talent and skilled workers is also the focus of this year's Career Day on November 9 at the Smart Country Convention. Fancy a 1:1 conversation with a company? Then register directly for Career Speed Dating. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. For more information about the Career Day, click here.

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