Labour and skills shortages persist in the EU, report finds

The European Commission’s report reveals that labour and skills shortages continue to be a challenge in the EU, particularly in sectors such as construction, healthcare, and STEM occupations.

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The European Commission’s Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) report for 2023 highlights the resilience of EU labour markets in 2022, with a record high employment rate and historic low unemployment rate.

Despite a strong economy and record-high employment rates, certain groups such as women, persons with disabilities, and young people still face low labour market representation. The report identifies a range of factors contributing to labour shortages, including an ageing population, gender segregation in certain occupations, and difficulties in attracting and retaining workers. The report found that while the digital transition contributes to persistent labour shortages in the ICT sector, it is not a key driver of shortages in other occupations. One-third of the skills required for an ICT professional are digital skills, while for most other occupations, digital skills represent less than a tenth of all skills needed.

To tackle these challenges, the report suggests policy measures such as tax and benefit reforms, investment in adult learning and skills development, improving working conditions, promoting targeted labour migration, and enhancing social dialogue. Overall, the report emphasises the need for both employers and workers to adapt to evolving skill needs in the context of green and digital transitions.