MILANO – To address the labor shortage that afflicts some manufacturing sectors in Europe, the solution is very simple: increase wages. This is highlighted by research published today by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
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An analysis of vacancy rates and wages in 22 European countries shows that areas with the greatest labor shortages pay on average 9% less than sectors where it is easier to hire.
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In 13 of the 22 EU Member States for which data is available, the sectors where labor shortages were felt between 2019 and 2022 also offer the lowest wages. The largest wage gaps between the sectors with the largest and smallest increases in labor shortages were found in Italy (€4.17 per hour), Luxembourg (€4.16), Germany (€3.26), the Netherlands (2.49 euros) and Greece (1.51 euros).
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“A decent wage is good for workers, for employers and for Europe. Low wages are fueling the cost-of-living crisis, while labor shortages hurt Europe’s economic performance and public services. From these data it is clear that low wages are one of the main factors driving Europe’s recruitment challenges”, commented the Secretary General of the Confederation Esther Lynch. “Europe must be an ideal place to work. As early as the 1980s Delors promised European workers the right to lifelong learning. The time has come to fulfill this fundamental promise for social Europe. This means investing in jobs of high-quality work, in paid leave for the training of workers, in a just transition, in social conditions that guarantee that companies invest in a market economy”.