Filling the EU skills gap

Oct 03 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

If you're not from Europe, have you ever considered working in the EU? The time might now be right to make the move! According to this piece from the New Europe, the EU will need around 20 million workers – skilled and unskilled – to fill labor shortages over the next few decades.

Recognizing the need for legal immigration and legal guest workers, lets hope that this eradicates scenes of people dying in the back of lorries while crossing into Europe or hanging off to the side of boats entering Spanish waters.

In terms of skilled labor, let's hope that it also means that it might bring about higher wages for engineers or other skilled positions that are often subjected to ridiculous bureaucratic guidelines.

I remember when applying for a work permit years ago in a major European powerhouse, the hoops that my future employer had to jump through were amazing. This included proving that someone local couldn't do the job, and, more obscenely, the position required a yearly salary that no company would have been willing to pay for my level of experience.

I wonder what this will mean for the number of Polish expats living in Western Europe who hold PhD degrees from home yet are working as cleaning staff in upscale London hotels? Does this mean that Romanian engineers will finally stop being exploited and be paid as much as other European professionals?

While I'm curious to see the new "blue card" and what it means for foreign skilled workers, I can't help but wonder if it will help correct current professional inequalities among citizens of member states working across the EU.