These days the Spanish labor market is hectic. In our country there is a striking paradox: there are some 109,000 unfilled jobs and, at the same time, we have an unemployment rate of 13.65%, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics. The government and unions attribute these circumstances, to a large extent, to the poor salaries offered in the sectors where more vacancies are currently being registered, such as hospitality or construction.
A reading of the situation that is only partially correct. Yes, there are sectors in which precariousness is driving away workers who are fed up with low wages and poor conditions, but there are others in which there are simply not enough professionals with the necessary qualifications to fill the positions, such as IT.
Neither IT nor welders. At Xataka we have been reporting the lack of ICT professionals for some time. It was a problem that had been occurring for years, but that has worsened as a result of the pandemic, to the point that some companies see their businesses in danger due to the lack of qualified personnel to hire.
And this lack of professionals not only occurs in the technology sector. Five Days newspaper informa, for example, that there are hardly any welders or forklift operators, and that the companies that need this type of profiles fight for them. To such an extent there is a lack of these workers that the human resources agency Adecco has organized express and free 100-day training courses for clients who cannot find them in the current market.
Besides, the ManpowerGroup Employment Projection Study for the first quarter of 2022 includes a series of sectors in which the lack of professionals is the main problem to fill vacancies, and not the salary. The main one is technology, but logistics and operations, customer service, sales and marketing also appear.
Lack of training. Therefore, although one of the causes of the lack of workers in Spain is the lack of good working conditions, it is not the only one, and another important one is insufficient training oriented to the needs of the market. As in computing, where university places have practically not been expanded for 10 years despite the growing demand for these professionals that has been registered in our country.
In the press conference after the meeting between the unions and the Government to study the problem of the lack of professionals, in which both parties asked that the employers pay more as the main solution, the confederal secretary of the Union Action of Workers’ Commissions, Mari Cruz Vicente also pointed out that Spain needs to invest more in training and requalification to fully address the problem of covering certain vacancies.
mismatch between supply and demand. According to data from the ManpowerGroup study cited above, in Spain today the mismatch between the workers that companies are looking for and what the labor market offers affects 80% of companies, that is, eight out of ten companies are not able to find people with sufficient qualifications for the vacant position.
The Government is trying to address these difficulties expanding vocational training places. This year, the Executive has announced that it will create 88,000 new vocational training places, with a special focus on professional retraining. However, it is not clear if all of them are geared to the real needs of Spanish companies. The rise of bootcamps, for example, or initiatives such as Adecco’s quick courses show that the public educational offer still needs improvement.
Image | Syd Mills