Social eventWhere are the workers?: “There is a labor shortage everywhere”
Plumbers in Germany, postmen in the United States, engineers in Australia, nurses in Canada, masons in France… Everywhere, labor needs have increased dramatically since the pandemic. But the arms are missing.
The CEO of German SME Currentsystem23, which specializes in software, in eastern Germany, Michael Blume told AFP that he “obviously has a lot of difficulty finding employees”. “Everywhere you look, there is a lack of skilled work everywhere,” continued this businessman, pointing to the problems of training in Germany where 887,000 jobs are waiting to be filled in August, in social or construction than computing.
The American numbers are even more disconcerting in a country where signs that read “We’re hiring!” abound in front of restaurants or buses: more than eleven million positions were vacant at the end of July for almost half the number of workers available. “Companies continue to say in global opinion polls that hiring is very difficult” since the pandemic, said Ariane Curtis, Toronto economist for the firm Capital Economics.
It points to serious difficulties among the countries of Western Europe, North America but also in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Latin America. According to an OECD report from July, job vacancies rose significantly at the end of 2021 in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada compared to the pre-pandemic period.
At a time when the world economy is already slowing under the impact of the war in Ukraine, the shortage of workers is especially worrying because it affects sectors as diverse as Texas teachers, the hotel and catering industry. in Italy or health workers. in Canada.
Closure due to lack of staff
They also lead to a destabilization of the operation of many companies: pharmacies in Wisconsin had to close at certain times due to a lack of pharmaceuticals, nursing units in Canadian hospitals in Alberta due to on the lack of doctors and restaurants on the “Sunshine Coast” in Australia, near Brisbane, due to a lack of servers, the local press recently reported.
White-collar trades also experienced a downturn. “In the past, the hardest part was finding corporate clients. From now on, it’s the candidates,” said Clément Verrier, who runs a recruitment company in Paris that specializes in senior executives. His industry “faced with an unprecedented number of candidates who disappeared in the middle of the recruitment process, without even calling back”, he added.
Employers are struggling to adapt to new workforce priorities
Already in the workplace due to the progressive aging of the population, the shortage of workers suddenly erupted with Covid-19. There are many sources: early retirement, high covid, very low salaries, very difficult working conditions, professional reorientations in the name of the search for meaning, sharp reduction in immigration due to incarcerations, movement of except for the big cities that provide work … Never in modern history has there been an event that has so affected the idea of work.
“The pandemic has caused a fundamental change in the mindset and priorities of workers”, analyzes Bonnie Dowling, partner of the consulting firm McKinsey who conducted a study of waves of resignations in several regions in the world. However, at the moment, “employers are not going at the same speed with these changes”.
Telework has become a necessity
Companies try measures to attract or retain employees, starting with salary increases, which vary from one sector to another. Teleworking has become a necessity in many professions, which has also seen the emergence of initiatives such as “bonus” leave or time given for personal reasons. “You have to spread the riches of imagination” to attract candidates, says Parisian recruiter Clément Verrier.
A major issue, immigration is also popular in more and more states, be it Australia, Spain, which relaxed its rules for the regularization of undocumented migrants in the summer, or Germany which plans to ease the conditions for granting a visa. “The big question is whether what we’ve seen for months will calm down or not,” said Mike Smith, head of international recruitment expert Randstad Sourceright in the Netherlands. “We don’t think this is a temporary change,” he said. This will require companies and the State to better adapt to the new situation.