The labor shortage that affects the United States as the country has recovered from the epidemic has now reached Europe, where the problem may be even more difficult to solve.
As in the US, where job creation in April was much lower than expected, it would be difficult for Europe to fill jobs. This is despite an unemployment rate exceeding 7% in the European Union – and more than double in Greece and Spain – and which, according to forecasts, should not return to pre-crisis levels before 2023.
In the short term, with travel restrictions related to coronaviruses, workers will not be able to cross borders with the usual facility for blocks of 27 countries. This is a problem, as the European Union is about to begin distributing its € 800 billion ($ 977 billion) recovery fund, which focuses on the environmental and digital sectors, which will require specialized professionals.
But networks and pipelines supplying new workers have also been affected, which will have lasting effects. Employment fairs have been canceled and vocational training programs have been suspended. Universities reported a decline in the number of foreign students. All this should exacerbate the current adverse demographic challenge of the region.
Brexit imposed an additional barrier to labor mobility, as the trade agreement that began this year between the UK and the European Union includes restrictions on movement with limited mutual recognition of certain qualifications.
“In Europe, the problems are more structural,” said Axel Pluenneke, an economist at the German Economic Institute in Cologne. “There will be a lot of demand for qualified labor in areas such as digitization, decarbonization, especially in the technical professions. The question really is whether this demand will be met. ”
The region already feels part of the impact of border closures imposed during the epidemic. Net migration to Germany, Europe’s largest economy, dropped to around 30% in 2020. Norway faces a shortage of hospitality professionals such as foreign rafting guides, and was tightened to avoid downtime of the project or business in the “last month was relaxed by entry restrictions to include workers. The next four Month. “
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