Language barriers and, to a lesser extent, administrative difficulties were identified as the main obstacles to hiring skilled labor within the EU.
The lack of skills is one of the most serious problems for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU, the challenge caused by the lack of skills has grown in size over the years and now affects all EU member states and all sectors of the economy – it was revealed by the European From the Eurobarometer survey published by the Commission.
SMEs most often face skills shortages in their technically skilled workforce, such as laboratory workers, mechanics and others. Almost half of European SMEs – 42 percent – indicated that they are struggling with a lack of skilled labor. This is especially a problem for industrial and manufacturing companies.
Skills shortages affect SMEs in a number of ways: increasing the workload of existing staff, reducing sales or sales opportunities, and reducing profitability and growth.
14 percent of SMEs reported that they employ staff from other EU member states to address skills shortages, although this proportion is higher for larger SMEs. Language barriers and, to a lesser extent, administrative difficulties were identified as the main obstacles to hiring skilled labor within the EU.
The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises are relatively satisfied with the policy support they received to address the skills shortage, but at the same time indicated that there is still room for improvement. Regarding the policies that best support their needs, micro-enterprises mainly mention tax incentives and direct subsidies, while medium-sized enterprises consider further training opportunities to be the most useful.
The survey, in which more than 19,000 companies were questioned, was conducted between September and October 2023 in the 27 EU member states, as well as in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, North Macedonia, Turkey, the United States, Canada and Japan. The report focuses mainly on SMEs operating in the EU, the data of which was compared with the data of large companies surveyed in the EU, as well as of small and medium-sized enterprises in countries outside the EU.