In Spain there are 155,797 unfilled job vacancies. It is the maximum since there are records in this regard, which begin in 2013. Furthermore, as reported this Monday by the National Institute of Statistics, vacancies have grown by 5.3% in the third quarter compared to the second. A review of previous years shows that it is usual for vacancies to fall at this time of year, usually one of job creation,: last year they fell by 0.8% and in 2019, by 3.1%. This time, also in a context of more jobs, the trend is different.
The debate on vacancies in Spain is one of the most agitated in the world of work. The Ministry of Labor has been making an effort to contextualize these figures: although they have grown in recent months, they insist that they are proportionally few. With Eurostat data in hand, they are right. Spain registers a vacancy rate of 0.9%, among the lowest in Europe, far from the EU average (2.6%) and the countries that suffer the most from this problem, such as Belgium (4.7%) or Netherlands (4.5%). It is worth remembering that Spain suffers the highest unemployment rate on the continent (12%, double the average). That is, in no other country is there a greater proportion of people looking for work.
Despite the latter, there are many employers who say they suffer from a serious problem of worker shortages. 71% of the SMEs consulted in the report The challenge of vacancies in Spain (prepared by the Cepyme employers’ association) assure that they have difficulties finding the workers they need to fill the vacancies that arise in their company and be able to fully develop their activity. Labor concedes that there are some very specific sectors in which these problems do occur, but limits them to cutting-edge activities such as renewable energies, in which there is a disconnect between the acceleration of demand and the available professionals. In sectors such as the hospitality industry, the ministry believes, the problem is low wages.
The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration insisted during the last legislature that this problem was more serious than what Labor diagnosed. For this reason, it has done everything possible to encourage the arrival of immigrant workers, so that they fill those job vacancies that, companies report, suffer to a greater extent than what the statistics show.
By sector, the only one in which there is a significant increase in vacancies compared to the previous quarter is services: they went from 131,000 to 140,582. In construction they fell from 8,084 to 6,160 and in agriculture they remained almost the same, from 9,007 to 9,055. This distribution by sectors hardly helps to understand the problem, since it includes services ranging from hospitality to important technology companies, including the public sector.
Previous significant increases had to do precisely with the record public job offers in recent months. 81% of the increase in the first quarter, when the previous maximum was reported, corresponded to the Public Administration, Defense and Social Security branch (12,690 more vacancies). Then there were 51,375 vacancies, 34.3% of the total.
This is how CC OO explained the acceleration that occurred in that first quarter: “There is a paradox that the increase in the public offer of employment in the last year has the statistical effect of triggering the number of vacancies pending to be filled in the employment market. job. Furthermore, a second paradox occurs: most of these vacancies linked to the public sector are already covered by workers who have temporary employment, so they are not real vacancies but rather positions offered within a process of consolidation and stabilization of employment. public”.
“90.2% of these vacancies are in the services sector,” UGT insisted this Monday. “In order to reduce the number of vacancies, it is essential that a substantial improvement in salaries be carried out, as well as a change in active employment policies so that they are more effective,” the union says.
The dissociation between employers’ complaints and what the statistics show has called into question both elements: the unions defend that the majority of these protests hide the fact that employers are not offering attractive working conditions; while some voices have wondered if the statistics are accurate, if they are really capturing the phenomenon as a whole. In May, Economic and Social Council economist Raymond Torres said the following: “We have looked at it and there are different opinions. “We believe that there are problems with the data, that the vacancy statistics are not accurate and solid.” A week earlier, Labor defended that the figure from the Quarterly Labor Cost Survey – from which the vacancy data comes – is “robust” and “based on a huge sample, approved by Eurostat.”
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