Optics and Photonics Growth Report 2021/2022
9 December 2022 — The photonics industry in the capital region of Berlin-Brandenburg survived the pandemic years of 2021/2022 well overall. This can be seen in the current Optics and Photonics Growth Report, which provides an index-based analysis of companies’ economic development in the optics and photonics cluster in Berlin and Brandenburg. According to the report, the 363 companies in this sector with around 16,400 employees achieved an annual turnover of 3.6 million euros in 2021. It is worth noting that the clear majority (96.7%) of companies in the capital are small or medium-sized. However, the twelve large companies, including ASML Berlin and Rathenower Optik GmbH, generated more than half of the industry’s regional sales.
Along with strong sales, the industry is also technologically diverse; this ranges from laser and light technology, biophotonics and optometry, and optical analysis to photonics and quantum technologies for communication and sensor systems. Cross-cutting issues, such as functional materials and software/simulation, also form part of the Berlin-Brandenburg photonics scene. The innovative, high-tech nature of the industry is also highlighted by the high amount of investments in research and development (R&D). The companies surveyed stated that this sum in 2021 accounted for 19% of their sales, or 684 million euros. Based on these economic indicators, the impacts of the pandemic on most companies at the time of surveying were well managed on the whole. Consequently, the companies are even expecting significant developments in digitalisation.
The challenges of climate change along with the consequences of a lack of skilled workers is also explained in the report. In terms of climate protection, the companies see great value in analysing these results while taking their own steps towards managing the climate crisis. Topics such as the energy revolution and education are also gaining in importance. To improve the appeal for investments at the site, companies want funding from regional networks and local governments to support MINT occupations, build company premises in Berlin and improve the transport connections and digital infrastructure in rural areas.
Note on methodology: The results were based on 119 interviews carried out in spring 2022 with managers from around 360 cluster companies in the field of optics and photonics. On behalf of cluster management, these interviews were carried out by the CATI laboratory at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena at the Institute of Labour, Industry and Economics. The war in Ukraine had not yet started at the time of the survey.