Skills shortage to hit European Union by 2025

Aging population and drop in immigration could harm the EU’s prospects says new study

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Skill shortage

By the middle of the next decade, the EU could be set to lose nearly a sixth of its young workforce as a result of curbs on immigration, a new study has claimed. The report, by the European University Institute, showed that countries such as Spain and Italy would lose around 30 percent of young workers.

The study said that EU countries needed additional young workers, categorised as below the age of 45, if the levels of employment in 2010 are sustained. By 2025, Spain and Germany will need over four million new workers, while the UK will need more than 1.5m.

Solving the problem of an aging population and lower fertility rates could prove tricky, as national governments struggle with the negative perceptions of immigration from outside the EU. However, the study says something must be done to stem the decline in young workers in EU economies. Some have called for an increase in economic participation of both women and immigrants, for example.

“There are a variety of policy responses that can help to mitigate future demographic impacts upon the employed workforces EU countries. In order to accurately asses the required magnitude of policy responses, an over-simplified, but quantifiable, objective could be to maintain the current levels of employed persons aged below 45 for each EU member state. Clearly the implications of an ageing workforce will have sweeping effects across many of the EU countries. Spain, Greece and Italy are very prescient examples of countries that require significant policies to cope with such changes.”

It concludes, “Based on these research findings, it is clear that migration that directly complements the requirements of EU member states will become central to fulfilling the demands of their respective job markets.”