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March 23, 2023

Labor shortage: Thousands of very well paid jobs cannot find candidates

Macro commentary by eToro analyst for Romania, Bogdan Maioreanu

The economic growth is facing an unexpected challenge that is given by the workforce shortage. This is an issue present on both sides of the Atlantic, but more dramatic in the United States. Having tens of thousands of job openings with yearly salaries exceeding 100,000 dollars, is not a good sign for US economic growth perspectives.

In Europe the number of job vacancies is increasing, showing values of 2.6% in the euro area and 2.4% in the European Union, in the third quarter of 2021. The job vacancy rate may, in part, reflect the unmet demand for labour, as well as potential mismatches between the skills and availability of those who are unemployed and those sought by employers. However, 5.1% of jobs in Czech were vacant, the highest value in the EU, followed by Belgium (4.7%) and the Netherlands (4.2%). The most in demand careers in Europe are in IT, engineering and healthcare. In November 2021 the European Union unemployment rate was 6.5%, down from 6.7% in October 2021.

Romania has only 0.79% vacant jobs. In November 2021 the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.2% the same as in October. The most searched jobs in 2021 were engineer, driver and accountant with a lot of candidates searching for work from home.  But according to the ManpowerGroup survey, European employers are reporting the most difficulty filling open roles with the biggest impacts being felt in France, Romania, and Italy. And the need for employees is rising, 29% of Romanian companies surveyed declaring intentions to hire in 2022.

The lack of workforce is very visible also in the United Kingdom. According to a Glassdoor statistics in a top 25 best jobs, the best rated job is the Product Manager with a median yearly salary of over 60 thousand pounds and close to 2000 job openings, followed by enterprise architect – 71 thousand pound and 1500 job openings and Dentist with 55 thousand pounds and 1721 job openings.

Over the Atlantic, the workforce situation is more dramatic. The US added only 199,000 new jobs in December, less than the 426,000 expected by analysts. Despite the steady increases in job creation numbers, there are still 3.6 Million people that still did not return to work after the March 2020 lockdown.

Worse, the unemployment rate decreased to 3.9%, very close to the lowest value of 3.6% registered in February 2020, just before the beginning of the pandemic. The American economy has almost 11 million vacancies, some of which are extremely well paid jobs. This situation is driving average hourly wage growth of 4.7% versus last year, as employers are forced to raise wages to try and attract workers.

In a statistic posted by Glassdoor site, the first three in the top 50 best jobs in the US are paid with salaries varying from over 90.000 USD per year to more than 121.000 USD per year and have more than 20,000 job openings. The best job is considered to be Java Developer with a median base salary of 90,830 USD and 10.103 job openings, followed by Data Scientist with a median salary of 113,736 USD and almost 6,000 job openings and the Product Manager with a median salary of 121,107 USD and 14,515 job openings. The largest median salary in the top is the one of a dentist with more than 134,000 USD per year and 4,300 openings.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more than 10.5 million unoccupied jobs in the United States. And if we consider the fact that 3.5 million people are still missing from the workforce and the low unemployment rate, the chances to fill these working places are very slim. And depending on how the pandemic is unfolding, the US labor crisis has the potential to turn to worse, possibly hindering companies development plans for 2022. However, the current situation, that seems without a classic solution, might create the opportunity to accelerate jobs replacement by AI technologies and robots.


Bogdan Maioreanu, eToro analyst and markets commentator, has over 20 years of experience in financial services and investments and a strong background in journalism. He held different Corporate Banking management positions in both Raiffeisen Bank and OTP Bank, before moving to business consultancy roles working for IBM Romania among others. Bogdan is an Executive MBA from Asebuss and Washington University.

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