The IAB was founded on April 1, 1967 with the appointment of its first director, Dieter Mertens. A month later, it began work with the hiring of its first employees. Initially, there was no legal basis for founding the institute within the former Federal Labor Office (BA). The founding was essentially, if not exclusively, the result of the controversial automation debate. It was about the connection between technical progress and economic and social development. Experts feared at that time considerable releases or at least hitherto unknown breaks in employment biographies as a result of the progressing automation of production.
At the turn of the year 1964/1965, the head of the BA therefore introduced conceptional preliminary considerations which for the first time addressed the aims and possibilities of labor market and occupational research. The considerations resulted in the working group "structural change of the economy" with well-known scientists and scientists. This working group developed proposals on the tasks, working methods and organization of labor market research. These were taken up by the self-government of the Federal Labor Office, namely the Committee on Technical Progress and the Labor Market. The committee then launched at the end of 1965 a work plan for the establishment of the IAB. It was only four years later that labor market and occupational research was enshrined as a task of the Federal Institute in the Labor Promotion Act adopted in 1969.
The founding of the IAB came at a time when politics was anxious to underpin scientific and economic policy issues as much as possible scientifically. Especially the 60s and early 70s were therefore characterized by research efforts of many departments, which led to the emergence of numerous scientific institutions. Worth mentioning here are the German Youth Institute, the Federal Institute for Vocational Training, the German Institute for Urban Studies or the Institute of Population Sciences at the Federal Statistical Office. Another expression of the need for policy advice was the establishment of the German Council of Economic Experts for the Review of Macroeconomic Development.
Development of research work
In the early start-up phase - unlike today's case - the focus was not on broad policy advice, but on the task of supporting the placement and advisory services of the Federal Labor Office with scientifically sound (occupational) forecasts. However, the importance of labor market research soon grew. This was subsequently legitimized by the Employment Promotion Act (AFG). The law formulated the research assignment to the IAB more comprehensively than was provided for in the Federal Institute. Labor market research should then lay the scientific foundation for the use of labor market policy measures and contribute to their optimization.
In order to do justice to its research mandate, in mid-1967 the IAB established areas covering a broad interdisciplinary spectrum (such as macroeconomics, sociology and occupational research). In the foreground was the projection of the short-term and long-term labor market development as well as the question of the causes of the observed changes nationally and internationally. The role of technology in the production process and the qualifications and occupations in individual labor market integration have also been the subject of important research strands. Another focus in the 1990s was macroeconomic policy analysis using the so-called "sysifo model". In it simulations were used to illustrate the effects of political measures on the macroeconomic level.
After completing the start-up phase, the IAB had around 100 scientific and non-academic staff members. By the end of the 80s, there was little change in the number of staff. At the beginning of the nineties he increased because the tasks had grown in the course of reunification. In some cases, employees from the Central Research Institute for Labor (ZFA), which was dissolved in 1991, were taken over in Dresden. According to this, the IAB, including the research staff at the base work stations (now project staff of the IAB), had about 140 employees by the end of 2003. The doubling of the workforce up to the current status had different reasons, which will be discussed in more detail in the following chapters. Of importance were the establishment of the Regional Research Network, which emerged from the posts of the previously assigned to the state employment offices research papers, and the founding of the Research Data Center (FDZ) of the BA. In addition, the number of staff increased due to the establishment of the IAB as a special department of the BA and the associated new administrative tasks. Finally, the additional research contract in SGB II was accompanied by a further increase in personnel.