AFP, published on Thursday 08 September 2022 at 07:25
These are plumbers in Germany, postmen in the United States, engineers in Australia, nurses in Canada, bricklayers in France… Everywhere, labor needs have skyrocketed since the pandemic. But the arms are missing.
The CEO of the German software-based SME Currentsystem23 in eastern Germany, Michael Blume, told AFP that “he clearly has a lot of trouble finding employees.”
“Wherever you look, there is a shortage of qualified labor everywhere,” continues this businessman, who points to the training problems in Germany, where in August they expected to fill 887,000 jobs, both in the social and construction as well as information technology.
The US numbers are even more dizzying in a country where “We’re Hiring!” they abound in front of restaurants or buses: more than eleven million positions were vacant at the end of July for almost half of the available workers.
“Companies keep saying in global opinion polls that it is very difficult to hire” since the pandemic, says Ariane Curtis, a Toronto-based economist at Capital Economics.
He points out serious difficulties between the countries of Western Europe, North America, but also in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Latin America.
Tensions over job vacancies rose significantly in late 2021 in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada compared to the pre-pandemic period, according to an OECD report from July.
– Education, hospitality, health… –
At a time when the world economy is already slowing down as a result of the war in Ukraine, the shortage of workers is all the more worrying as it affects sectors as varied as teachers in Texas, hospitality in Italy or health in Canada.
They also destabilize the operation of many companies: pharmacies in Wisconsin have to close at certain times due to a lack of pharmacists, Canadian hospital care units in Alberta due to a lack of doctors, and restaurants on the Australian “Sunshine Coast”, near from Brisbane. , due to lack of servers, the local press recently reported.
White collar trades are also experiencing a drop. “Before, the hardest thing was finding client companies. Now it’s the candidates,” testifies Clément Verrier, who co-directs a Parisian recruitment firm specializing in senior executives.
His industry “is faced with an unprecedented number of candidates who disappear in the middle of the hiring process, without even calling back,” he adds.
Already at work due to the progressive aging of the population, the labor shortage has suddenly intensified with covid-19.
There are many sources: early retirement, long covid, wages that are too low, working conditions that are too difficult, professional reorientations in the name of a search for meaning, drastic drop in immigration due to lockdowns, moving out of big cities providing jobs . … Never in modern history has an event affected the very notion of work so much.
“The pandemic has caused a fundamental change in the mindset and priorities of workers,” said Bonnie Dowling, a partner at consulting firm McKinsey, who conducted a study on waves of resignations in various regions of the world. However, for the time being, “the bosses are not going at the same speed as these changes.”
– ‘Treasures of the imagination’ –
Companies are trying measures to attract or retain employees, starting with salary increases, which vary from one sector to another.
Telecommuting is becoming a prerequisite in many professions, which have also seen initiatives such as “bonus” leave or time granted for a personal cause emerge.
“You have to deploy treasures of imagination” to seduce candidates, says Parisian recruiter Clément Verrier.
A major issue, immigration is also popular in a growing number of states, whether it be Australia, Spain, which relaxed its rules to regularize undocumented immigrants in the summer, or Germany, which plans to ease conditions for granting visas.
“The big question is whether or not what we’ve been seeing for months will die down,” said Mike Smith, head of international recruitment expert Randstad Sourceright in the Netherlands. “We don’t think it’s a transitional change,” he said.
This will require companies and States to adapt more to the new situation.
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