The problem of unfilled jobs in Spain due to lack of labor is concentrated in specific sectors and some specific geographical areas. At least, this is the conclusion that emerges from the first diagnosis carried out by the Government together with employers and unions to find a solution that manages to reduce the volume of 109,000 vacancies that remain unfilled each year in our country.
Although the first conversations at the social dialogue table have not provided great solutions to reverse the situation, the Government points to the salary issue as one of the main problems. Thus, they warn from the Ministry of Labor and Social Economy that the fact that in certain sectors they pay low salaries, "even below the SMI" (due to staggering in the renewal of agreements) and that this circumstance cohabits with a situation of rising prices of consumer prices in general, means that some points are especially affected by this lack of labor.
Specifically, the Government has identified four sectors highly affected by unfilled job vacancies: construction, hospitality, transport and activities in the primary sector. Although salary is not the only element that resolves the lack of labor, it does coincide that many of these jobs are paid in the SMI environment. But the hardship of the jobs seems to also be partly to blame in terms of the activities that most employees demand.
The other element that determines the ability of certain sectors to attract the affected sectors is the cost of living, which in certain urban centers demands a certain level of income in order to survive. Work refers at this point to large cities where housing costs, rents, supply and consumption of basic goods drive out low-wage workers.
“Some of the vacancies that are occurring in specific territories and the hospitality industry have to do with not paying enough, there are no breaks, the days are exhausting and workers cannot reconcile their personal and work lives,” he pointed out this Monday. After meeting with businessmen and unions, the Secretary of State for Employment, Joaquín Pérez Rey.
“It is not so much a problem of lack of will to work, but that the working conditions are not adequate and advantageous enough for workers to live in localities, many of them subject to a great problem of housing tension and a lot of tourist influx, so that they can work in conditions of dignity“, they argue from the Government.
The Secretary of State also explained that part of the vacancies are in sectors of great technical complexity, such as information technology, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality or cybersecurity. In these cases, Labor insists that elements of requalification of the workers must be included so that they can enter those vacancies.
Beyond specific inspection campaigns, Pérez Rey assures that Labor closely monitors compliance with working conditions by companies linked to sectors linked to seasonality. In fact, he has recalled that this Thursday the Inspection will send hundreds of letters to companies that may have irregular use of discontinuous fixed or temporary contracts.
After the meeting, the Deputy Secretary General for Trade Union Policy of the UGT, Mariano Hoya, agreed in the Labor analysis that there is not a mass problem of vacancies in the country, but he pointed out that this problem is concentrated above all in four communities: Madrid , Catalonia, the Valencian Community and Andalusia, which encompass around 20% of vacancies.
Given this, and in the face of the problems detected in specific sectors, Hoya urges an effort to improve the conditions of the country's workers, through Collective Bargaining agreements and promoting training to fill highly technically demanding positions.
In this same sense, the confederal secretary of Union Action and Employment, Mari Cruz Vicente, affirmed that although there is currently no current problem, certain symptoms are detected that there may be structural problems in the future regarding vacancies.
The greatest needs are concentrated in sectors such as construction, there is a vacancy deficit of around 30,000 people, but he has warned that medium-term forecasts speak of 700,000 people. "We are already talking about a structural problem to which we have to provide early solutions," he stresses.
In this sense, it should be remembered that the 109,000 jobs refer to these positions that, due to conditions, cannot attract workers, although the problem is greater if we point to those sectors where it is the training level of the employees that determines the volume of vacancies.
From the British multinational company that offers recruitment and human resources services HAYS calculate that the current number of vacancies without candidates will multiply by four in the medium term in the case of technological positions, which will exceed 400,000 jobs. Added to these profiles are the at least 700,000 new workers that the construction sector needs, according to data from the National Confederation of Construction. In sum, the problem of unfilled vacancies could go up to more than a million positions in the next few years.