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Bottleneck vacancies: more action is needed, says report

19/09/2014
Bottleneck vacancies: more action is needed, says report © Shutterstock

The European Commission has published today a study on bottleneck occupations, i.e. jobs where employers have had problems in the past to find and hire staff to fill vacancies, and expect the same in the future.

The study was carried out in all EU Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Individual country fiches analysing the phenomenon are also available.

Bottlenecks occur at all levels of specialisation

The study, compiling data available at national level, found that bottleneck vacancies do not only occur in high skilled occupations, such as health, IT, scientific and engineering professionals, but are also found in skilled and low skilled manual occupations, in  manufacturing, construction or tourism.

This is due both to mismatch in educational choices at high skill level, and to poor wage or working conditions leading to high turnover and difficulties to replace ageing workers at lower skill levels.

The study provides a ranking of bottlenecks most frequently reported for specific occupations. According to the study, cooks are most difficult to find, followed by metal working machine tool setters and operators, and shop sales assistants.

Policy recommendations

Most of the bottlenecks identified are structural, persisting over long periods, showing that education and training systems need to better and more swiftly aligned to labour market needs. There are too few initiatives addressing shortages in a coordinated manner and labour market intelligence needs to be improved at national level.

At EU level, the study recommends better targeted EU mobility aimed at specific specialisations and occupations in need, as well as better matching of skills in EU recruitment.  EU action should upscale and focus more narrowly  targeted mobility tools for young people such as Your First EURES Job and should improve skills-based matching on the EURES Job Mobility Portal.

A call for proposals for Your first EURES job – Targeted mobility scheme is currently open for applications (deadline: 15 October).