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European Year of Skills

Tackling labour shortages in EU Member States

This report explores various approaches to identifying labour shortages and maps national policy debates around the issue. It documents public and social partner interventions to tackle labour shortages.


Publication date
20 July 2021
Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion


In the years leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, the issue of labour shortages had been gaining greater prominence on the EU agenda. This issue posed concerns for many Member States in terms of the ability of certain sectors to enhance their productivity and competitiveness and to deliver the level and quality of services required. Although rising unemployment resulting from the impact of the pandemic turned labour shortages into an oversupply of available labour in some sectors, in others long-standing issues have been further aggravated – the healthcare sector being a case in point. Similarly, the decline in overall job vacancy rates as an indication of an easing of the labour shortages phenomenon is no cause for complacency, given that efforts to ‘build back better’ after the pandemic – in the context of accelerating digitalisation and the transition towards a climate-neutral economy – will throw the spotlight on other areas of shortage in many information and communications technology (ICT) and future-oriented technology sectors, professions and skills.

Tackling labour shortages in EU Member States


26 FEBRUARY 2024
Tackling labour shortages in EU Member States