As the economic recovery expands, labour shortages are increasing in all countries. Will the global economy run out of arms ? This is the question that arises in view of the incredible difficulties that employers have in recruiting, especially in the service sector, tourism, hotels, restaurants.
In Australia, to convince candidates to work in tourism, the state of Queensland has just decided to offer a hiring bonus of 1.500 Australian dollars, one thousand euros approximately. The mining industry announces that it will be forced to reduce its production. In New Zealand, farmers fear that they will no longer be able to provide care for livestock.
In the United States, Amazon gives $ 1,500 to the signing of an employment contract, and even a little more for a vaccinated candidate. In London, restaurants offer a credit of 100 pounds, 120 euros, for any customer who presents a new hire. Another gives him 2,000 pounds, 2,400 euros, to an employee who does the same. Many pubs could not reopen due to lack of servers. In Berlin, about 400,000 people are missing, out of the 2,400,000 that the hotel and restaurant industry employed before the epidemic. In France, a little less advanced in the recovery, strong tensions also appear, still in the restoration, more than 10.000 jobs to be filled in Normandy for example, in the construction also.
A significant number of workers have disappeared from the labour market
How are such tensions explained, while activity remains weaker than in 2019. First a very stupid phenomenon : everyone is hiring at the same time, and it never usually happens. Then, closing borders, while catering and agriculture employed many foreign workers. In addition, many employees have changed sectors, leaving the restoration for fear of further confinement. But this does not explain everything. There is a significant number of workers who have literally disappeared from the labor market.
In the United States, 8 to 10 million people are missing compared to before the health crisis, that’s still 5% of the labor force. But where did they go ? One can only speculate. In countries where not all schools have reopened, at least one parent stays at home, for the children.
Others have experienced a forced life change, and do not want to return to the life of before, even if earning less. Still others benefit from short-time work, which was implemented very widely for the first time in history, including in countries without developed social protection.
So how do you convince them to come back ? Some U.S. states, particularly affected by the shortage, have just suspended short-time unemployment payments proposed by the federal state, to encourage beneficiaries to return to work. For the rest, there is only one argument worth, improved working conditions and pay. The increasing hiring premiums are the first sign of this. The fact is that the hotel and restaurant industry is a sector where hourly wages are sometimes low. We’ll have to go to the cashier.
Stéphane Bazin, the boss of the Accor hotel group, said three days ago that companies in the sector will have to revalue work, either with salary or with enriched tasks. This is one of the effects of the health crisis : it has rediscovered the importance of so-called “second-line” workers, all these indispensable and non-teleworking professions. The law of supply and demand will perhaps advance their wages much more surely than with a government measuree.