The Most In-Demand Professions in Europe

The shortage of labor has become a hot topic for discussions at the joint meeting of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) and the European Labour Agency (ELA) in 2022.

Unions and federations, dedicated to drawing attention to various sectors, also highlight a critical shortage of workers in healthcare, construction, freight transportation, and other industries.

In this article, we will examine the meeting’s outcomes and discuss which professions in Europe are in need of qualified personnel.

Previously, we discussed salary levels in Germany.

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The EURES report on labor shortages and surpluses (2022) provides detailed information on the situation in 27 EU countries, as well as in Norway and Switzerland. It identifies sectors facing shortages and those oversaturated with personnel.

Top 10 Deficient ProfessionsTop 10 Excessive Professions
BricklayersGraphic Designers
Carpentry and JoineryAdministrative and Executive Secretaries
Drivers (Categories C, C1, CE, D, D1, DE)Office Clerks
Metalworking Machine Setters and OperatorsSales Consultants
Professional NursesSecretaries
Plumbers and PipefittersInterior Designers
ElectriciansJournalists
Welders and Flame CuttersLaborers
Concrete Workers and Related ProfessionsCar, Taxi, and Minibus Drivers
Sheet Metal WorkersPhotographers

The EURES report identified 400 professions in at least one respondent country facing shortages, while 321 are in surplus. In three sectors—craftsmanship, healthcare, and software development—38 professions were recognized as widely deficient, meaning there is a shortage of workers throughout the European Union.

Top 5 Industries Facing Workforce Shortages in Some EU Countries

EnglandPolandGermanyAustriaSweden
HealthcareHealthcareHealthcareHealthcareHealthcare
EngineeringFreight TransportEngineeringConstructionTechnology
TechnologyConstructionITEngineeringCulinary Arts
EducationElectromechanicsScienсeTechnologyEducation
BusinessMental HealthFreight TransportAccountingCleaning

For an individual aspiring to obtain a work visa, several implications arise.

Firstly, finding an available job in Europe in a profession considered excessive in the country may be challenging, especially without language proficiency, due to the presence of local candidates. If a job is found, one may have to contend with stiff competition. Secondly, there is a risk of visa denial if there is already an abundance of such specialists in the country.

Applications are more readily accepted from candidates willing to take up positions in fields where there is a shortage of qualified personnel or at least a desire to work in a deficit area. Pay attention to the most in-demand professions if you plan to obtain a visa in Europe, as this increases the chances of success.

It is worth noting that in-demand does not necessarily mean popular, and these professions may not be the highest-paying. The focus is on vacancies in Europe where there is a critical shortage of skilled workers, making it easier to receive a job offer.

The EURES report provides a list of 20 professions that are currently in high demand.

Construction Workers: Bricklayer, Carpenter, Joiner, Concrete worker, Tile layer

In the United Kingdom alone, there is a shortage of 15,000 bricklayers. Annually, the construction industry requires 75,000, but currently, there are only 60,000 workers in the country (as of 2023). A study by the Home Building Federation (HBF) on June 26, 2023, highlights the dependency of the construction industry in the EU on foreign labor, with foreigners constituting almost 65% of the housing construction sector.

Skilled workers in the Construction Sector: concrete workers, joiners, carpenters, finishers, etc. are in high demand, especially in the following countries: Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

Truck, Bus and Tram Drivers

The shortage of professionals in driving occupations in Europe increased by 40% from 2020 to 2021. Romania lacks 71,000 drivers, Poland and Germany each need 80,000, and the United Kingdom requires up to 100,000 drivers. Overall, the European Union is facing a shortage of 380,000 long-haul truck drivers.

There is a demand for drivers not only in category C but also in categories B and E.

The highest demand for truck and passenger route drivers is observed in Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, Romania, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and Denmark.

Metalworking Machine Setter and Operator

Experts are predicting an 11% decrease in employment in the metallurgy and engineering sector from 2018 to 2030. However, there will be plenty of job opportunities for skilled workers. To meet the demand for professionals, approximately 2.7 million vacancies need to be filled. This challenge is particularly acute in Germany, making it a reasonable choice to explore job opportunities in the German metallurgical sector, even without knowledge of the language.

Apart from Germany, there is also a demand for metalworking professionals in Norway.

Professional Nurse, General Practitioner, or Specialized Physician

According to specialists' estimates, Europe is facing a shortage of nearly 1 million healthcare workers. In 2022, the UK’s National Health Service reported a record-level shortage of nurses, requiring almost 47,000 more staff.

There is also a talent migration, where doctors and nurses move to countries with better working conditions and salaries. For instance, professionals from Romania or Poland relocate to Germany or the United Kingdom.

The most significant shortage of nurses and doctors is observed in the United Kingdom, Italy, and overall across Europe.

Plumber and Pipefitter, Electrician

The UK Trade Skills 2023, an independent report describing future workforce needs in the construction and trade industries, highlighted a deficit in the construction sector. The report specifically shows that by 2032, over 70,000 new plumbers will be needed. Relevant job vacancies for working in Europe consistently emerge.

The same report forecasts a need for over 100,000 new electricians by 2032.

Country-specific Needs for Specialists

  • Electrical Technicians: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, France, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia.
  • Electrical Engineers: Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia.
  • Electronics Specialists: Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway.

Welder and Gas Cutter

According to the European Welding Federation (EWF), the EU is facing a shortage of approximately 300,000 qualified welding professionals. The deficit is so acute that the organization is initiating campaigns to attract young people, emphasizing the importance of welding as a profession.

A qualified welder can easily find employment in Germany, Poland, Finland, and France.

Software and Application Developer

Erni, a Swiss software development company, reports that every third company in the EU is seeking programmers. According to Eurostat’s 2022 report, over 50% of organizations face difficulties hiring IT professionals due to a shortage of qualified specialists.

So, if you are considering a career, Germany has 124,000 vacancies, and Hungary has 30,000. Many companies collaborate with foreign specialists through outsourcing arrangements.

The highest demand for developers is observed in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, and Hungary.

Chef

In 2020/21, many hospitality establishments in the UK were closed for almost a year, leading to workforce departures. UKHospitality, a HoReCa workers' association advocating for a fair working environment in the hotel business, reported a shortage of around 10% for head chefs and up to 21% for production chefs. There is also a demand for sommeliers.

Other Professions

Vacancies without separate statistics from unions but included in the list of in-demand professions:

  • Electrician and Locksmith
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Mechanic and Vehicle Repair Technician

In particular, Europe is interested in mechanics capable of servicing electric cars. According to independent repair surveys, the market for electric vehicles is underdeveloped and full of uncertainties: equipment is expensive, and service centers are hesitant to invest, while specialists are reluctant to acquire qualifications without assurance of a sufficient client base.

If you are wondering where to find work in Europe without knowledge of the language, consider one of the professions listed as in demand.

Regardless of the occupation or duration of residence in a European country, foreigners often maintain connections with their loved ones back home.

Sending money as regular financial support, congratulating on birthdays or other events, or assisting in challenging times—all of these actions help migrants feel closer to their families and participate in their lives.

The Korona app makes simple and fast transfers possible from Europe. Among the advantages of the service are:

  • User-friendly interface
  • 50+ available directions
  • No commission fees for currency conversion
  • Instant delivery
  • Receipt options on a card or in cash at designated pick-up points

Download the Korona app on App Store and Google Play right now to discover the transfer conditions in the direction important to you.

In our blog, we extensively cover topics related to life, work, and education in Europe. If these topics interest you, read more through the provided link.