An impressive total of 400 distinct professions have been designated as experiencing shortages in at least one European Union or Schengen Area member state, with an additional 321 distinct occupations identified as being oversupplied in at least one of these countries.
Insights into the professions that EU nations find challenging to fill with their own workforce, and those with an oversupply of professionals and insufficient workplaces, have been provided by a 2024 report from the European Labour Authority (EURES) on labor shortages and surpluses.
The report clarifies, “The identification of numerous shortage and surplus occupations does not indicate that several occupations are in short supply in some countries and in surplus in others,” elaborating that such an occurrence would have signified a viable solution to the issue of labor market imbalances in Europe among Member States.
Given this reality, EU nations must look toward the recruitment of foreign workers as the most efficient method to fill open positions that are integral for the progression of their economies.
This predicament has prompted countries like Germany to devise employment strategies that target youth from specific nations, while simultaneously simplifying the process of obtaining a work visa.
Several other EU nations have modified their labor migration policies to make their labor market more appealing to foreign workers, particularly those whose skills are in dire need.
The EU Commission recently proposed promoting targeted labor migration from non-EU nations in specific skill groups as a potential remedy to the lack of workers in critical sectors across all Member States.
The EURES report has disclosed a list of the most sought-after occupations in the EU, with some professions being in high demand in as many as 16 countries.
Foreign individuals with expertise or education in these fields stand a significantly higher chance of obtaining a European work visa compared to those in other professions.
EURES lists the following occupations as the top 20 in highest demand across the EU:
- Bricklayers and related workers
- Carpenters and joiners
- Heavy truck and lorry drivers
- Metal working machine tool setters and operators
- Nursing professionals
- Plumbers and pipe fitters
- Building and related electricians
- Welders and flame cutters
- Concrete placers, concrete finishers, and related workers
- Sheet metal workers
- Floor layers and tile setters
- Software developers
- Building construction laborers
- Electrical mechanics and fitters
- Applications programmers
- Generalist medical practitioners
- Bus and tram drivers
- Motor vehicle mechanics and repairers
- Specialist medical practitioners
However, individuals with occupations such as graphic and multi-media designers, administrative and executive, journalists, interior designers and decorators, shop sale assistants, among others, may find it more difficult to secure a work visa for the EU as these occupations are in surplus in most Member States.