Europe is dealing with shortages in workers in several occupations in different sectors across all skill levels, particularly in construction, healthcare, science, technology and mathematics (STEM), according to the EU Commission. Despite the labour shortage, the report notes that the economy of Europe increased by 3.5 percent in 2022, VisaGuide.World reports.
Employment rates were at a record high at 74.6 percent with 213.7 million people employed in 2022, and unemployment rates at a historic low at 6.2 percent. Overall, the enduring labor shortages in Europe are most evident in the following ten occupations:
1. Doctors and nurses/midwives
2. Healthcare personnel
3. Software developers and analysts
4. Building trade workers
5. Cleaners and helpers
6. Metal and mechanic workers
7. Cooks and workers
8. Truck and bus drivers
10. Electric and electronic workers
Among the reasons that contribute to labour shortage in Europe seems to be the aging population, reduced participation of women in the labour market, lower educational attainment, individuals with a migrant background, as well as both older and younger demographics, and poor working conditions.
The report, however, notes that non-EU-born workers may help alleviate shortages. They are 8.7 pp more likely to work in occupations with persistent labour shortages compared to workers born inside the EU. According to the report, the labour shortage is significantly impacted by the growing elderly demographic. Considering that fewer individuals will be engaged in the labour market, demand for goods and services from the expanding older population will continue to be sustained. While the working-age population (20-64-year-olds) reached a record of 272 million people in 2009, it declined to 265 million by 2022 and is expected to drop to 258 million by 2030. Moreover, an 86 percent majority of shortage occupations exhibit a gender imbalance, with most occupations being dominated by either men or women.
In an effort to mitigate labour shortages, the report suggested several comprehensive strategies, among those reforming tax and benefit systems, prioritizing adult learning and tailored training, improving job matching, enhancing working conditions, promoting accessible childcare, targeted labour migration, and engaging social partners in dialogue. In addition, a EURES report conducted during the second and third quarters of 2022 about labour market imbalances in the EU27 noted that Norway and Switzerland identified widespread shortages in software, healthcare, construction, and engineering craft occupations, similar to those in 2023. Among other things, this report revealed that a significant contributing element to the degree of labour surpluses and shortages in Europe is the lack of the skills demanded by businesses in the local labour market.