While European employers complain about skills shortages, a study shows that employees are feeling the financial pressure. But there are also differences in additional training compared to employees in the USA.
The study, conducted by consultancy PWS, surveyed nearly 54,000 workers around the world, including more than 15,000 from 14 EU countries. It found that workers in Europe and around the world are feeling more financial pressure than they did in 2022.
Only 36% of EU workers feel they have money left over after paying their bills at the end of the month, seven percentage points less than last year.
“People are feeling very stressed, and that impacts the income spectrum,” James Morris, director of global corporate affairs and advocacy at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said at an event in Brussels in early November. Inflation is clearly being felt by workers, even though the economy is still holding up fairly well and unemployment is at a record low.
Meanwhile, workers appear ready to do something about it: nearly a quarter of EU workers surveyed plan to change jobs in the next 12 months – a significant increase compared to last year. Given the low rates of unemployment and labor shortages that employers are complaining about across the continent, this willingness to change could lead to higher wages.
Preparing for the future
However, financial pressures can also affect the way workers plan and invest for their future. The focus could instead be on short-term liquidity issues.
Compared to their counterparts in the United States and Asia, workers in the European Union are less likely to believe that their work will require a significant change in their skills in the next five years. Only 26% of workers surveyed in the EU felt this way, compared to 44% in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the European Union, this number varies significantly depending on the level of specialization of workers. According to the study, workers who have received specialized training are 3.5 times more likely to believe that the skills they need need to change compared to non-specialized workers in the EU.
The study also shows that workers in the European Union are less confident than workers in the United States or Asia that their employers will support them in their efforts to acquire new skills.
The structure of the European economy may be one of the reasons for this relative weakness. Speaking at a PWC event, Employment Commissioner Nicholas Schmitt said most companies recognize the need for investment. But not everyone is able to implement this awareness.
“When I talk to the big automakers, they do that [die Investitionen] truly. “When we talk to some of their suppliers, they are already facing greater difficulties.”
“And if you talk to a lot of SMEs, they don’t know exactly how to do it because sometimes they don’t have the money to invest or the employees.”
However, Schmidt also sees opportunity in the current labor shortage: While employers previously had “the say,” the tide has now turned in favor of employees.
“You can’t just say, ‘Well, I’ll find an extraordinary man or woman somewhere.’ So you have to invest a lot in your existing employees,” Schmidt said.
Since SMEs are at a disadvantage when it comes to these investments, Schmitt also called for public fund support to initiate these investments.
[Bearbeitet von Kjeld Neubert]
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