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Top Countries With The Highest Labor Shortages In The World

Understanding which countries face the most significant labor shortages worldwide is crucial before making decisions about travel or job searches. This knowledge can guide you in making informed choices about where to focus your employment efforts.

Following the impact of Covid-19, numerous European countries have witnessed substantial worker resignations, totaling 30.5 million in August 2023. To address the skills gap in sectors with a shortage of labor, foreign workers are being recruited.

This article will delve into the 15 European countries currently grappling with substantial labor shortages.

15 Countries With The Highest Labor Shortages

The information in this report is based on data from Manpower Group’s 2024 Report on Talent Shortages, which played a crucial role in identifying countries with the most severe labor shortages globally.

The report presents data on the percentage of skilled labor shortages in each country, distinguishing between those with similar percentages. Additionally, it incorporates World Bank statistics on the proportion of the aging population relative to the total population.

Countries with a higher percentage of an aging population were given priority in the ranking. In cases where both the aging population and skilled labor shortage percentages matched between two countries, the number of permanent migrants accepted since 2021 was utilized as a tiebreaker.

The following is the list of countries facing significant labor shortages.

Japan 

Japan is currently grappling with the most severe labor shortages globally, with 86% of municipalities actively seeking additional foreign workers to tackle challenges arising from an aging population. Key sectors such as education, healthcare, and technology are actively recruiting international talent to address these gaps.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 85%
  • Ageing Population: 30% 

Greece 

In Germany, about 50% of businesses are encountering challenges due to a shortage of available workers. The country has approximately 1.8 million job vacancies, and sectors like construction and manufacturing are notably affected by this labor shortage.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 82%
  • Ageing Population: 22% 

Israel 

Israel is grappling with notable labor shortages, particularly in the construction sector. To address this issue, plans are underway to bring in around 70,000 foreign workers from countries such as China, India, and others.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 82%
  • Ageing Population: 12% 

Portugal 

Portugal is currently facing a substantial labor shortage across eight critical sectors. There is a pressing demand for skilled workers in areas such as IT, healthcare, hospitality, construction, agriculture, and renewable energy.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 81%
  • Ageing Population: 23% 

Ireland

Ireland is contending with a severe labor shortage crisis in vital industries, including construction, hospitality, and healthcare. Initiatives to tackle the shortfall involve bringing in 40,000 non-EU workers annually and expediting the visa issuance process for skilled workers from non-EU countries.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 81%
  • Ageing Population: 15% 

India

India is encountering a distinctive labor challenge despite having a growing workforce. The shortage of both skilled and unskilled labor is affecting domestic and international manufacturing capabilities in the country.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 81%
  • Ageing Population: 7% 

France 

France is experiencing a significant rise in job vacancies and general labor shortages, leading to tensions as companies actively seek workers. Despite the workforce challenge, there are projections for over 100,000 jobs in France’s hydrogen sector by 2030.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 80%
  • Ageing Population: 22% 

Canada 

Canada has set a target to welcome 485,000 permanent residents in 2024, with plans for a subsequent increase to 500,000 in 2025, maintaining the same level in 2026. This initiative is designed to tackle labor shortages, stimulate economic growth, and facilitate family reunification. Priority is given to critical sectors such as health, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), trades, and agriculture.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 80% 
  • Ageing Population: 19%

United Kingdom

The UK has witnessed a surge in interest in jobs, particularly from non-EU countries, following the implementation of a post-Brexit points-based immigration system. Prominent job categories in demand include social care and software development.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 80%
  • Ageing Population: 19% 

Brazil

As per the 2018 OECD Skills for Jobs database, Brazil is facing severe labor shortages in vital sectors like health and ICT.

Occupations related to personal care, protective services, and health professionals are experiencing a substantial deficit, with a notable shortage of medical imaging technicians and ICT professionals, amounting to thousands of positions.

Additionally, there is a considerable demand for customer service clerks and business professionals.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 80%
  • Ageing Population: 10% 

Hong Kong 

According to Bloomberg, Hong Kong is devising plans to alleviate a labor shortage by easing entry rules and recruiting 27,000 foreign workers. This initiative is particularly focused on industries experiencing significant shortages, such as construction and aviation.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 79% 
  • Ageing Population: 20% 

Romania 

Romania is among the countries grappling with significant skill shortages, and projections indicate a potential deficit of one million labor shortages in 2023.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 79%
  • Ageing Population: 19% 

Slovakia

In 2022, Slovakia has experienced a substantial increase in foreign workers, with the number quadrupling to 1,350. This surge is particularly notable in the IT and automotive sectors, which are grappling with staff shortages.

The rise in figures within the IT sector is also attributed to Slovakia’s long-term issue of brain drain, as many qualified Slovaks are leaving the country.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 79%
  • Ageing Population: 17%

Singapore 

Singapore is addressing its workforce shortages by aiming to recruit 260,000 professionals, with a particular focus on the IT & Software, Banking, and Engineering sectors. This recruitment drive is in response to a decrease of 194,000 foreign workers during the pandemic.

There is a notable demand for professionals in roles such as sales and compliance specialists, engineers, software developers, product managers, and AI specialists.

  • Skilled Labor Shortage: 79%
  • Ageing Population: 15%
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