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EU Labor Market Imbalances: 400 Occupations Facing Shortages, 321 Professions in Surplus

A comprehensive report by the European Labour Authority (EURES) has shed light on the challenging labor market imbalances within the European Union and Schengen Area member states.

EU Labor Market Imbalances: 400 Occupations Facing Shortages, 321 Professions in Surplus

According to the report, a staggering 400 different occupations have been identified as shortage jobs in at least one of the EU countries, while another 321 professions are listed as surplus in certain regions. This discrepancy poses significant challenges for policymakers as they seek to address labor shortages and optimize workforce utilization.

The EURES report indicates that this vast number of shortage and surplus occupations does not imply a direct trade-off between member states. Instead, it highlights the complexity of labor market imbalances, necessitating the recruitment of foreign workers to fill vital vacancies.

Facing the urgent need to address labor shortages and boost economic growth, many EU countries have formulated targeted strategies to attract foreign workers, particularly in sectors experiencing critical skill gaps. Germany, for instance, has tailored its employment policies to focus on enticing young workers from specific countries and streamlining work visa processes.

The situation has also caught the attention of the EU Commission, which has proposed promoting targeted labor migration from non-EU countries, with a specific emphasis on skilled groups. This approach aims to address workforce shortages across all member states and foster economic development.

To assist foreign job seekers in understanding the most sought-after professions in the EU, EURES has compiled a list of the top 20 occupations in high demand. These professions, classified as shortage jobs in up to 16 EU countries, offer promising opportunities for individuals seeking employment in Europe:

  1. Bricklayers and related workers

  2. Carpenters and joiners

  3. Heavy truck and lorry drivers

  4. Metal working machine tool setters and operators

  5. Nursing professionals

  6. Plumbers and pipe fitters

  7. Building and related electricians

  8. Welders and flame cutters

  9. Concrete placers, concrete finishers, and related workers

  10. Sheet metal workers

  11. Floor layers and tile setters

  12. Software developers

  13. Cooks

  14. Building construction laborers

  15. Electrical mechanics and fitters

  16. Applications programmers

  17. Generalist medical practitioners

  18. Bus and tram drivers

  19. Motor vehicle mechanics and repairers

  20. Specialist medical practitioners

Foreign workers with expertise or education in these high-demand professions stand a higher chance of securing work visas for EU countries where these skills are urgently required.

Conversely, certain occupations are experiencing a surplus of skilled workers in most EU member states. Professions like graphic and multi-media designers, administrative and executive roles, journalists, interior designers, and shop sales assistants may encounter challenges in obtaining work visas due to the excess supply of qualified professionals.

As the EU grapples with these labor market imbalances, finding effective solutions to address workforce shortages and enhance workforce mobility remains a top priority for policymakers across the region.


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