Labour shortages related to people working shorter weeks: ING

Working hours decrease after the pandemic Photo: Depositphotos

Labour shortages across Europe may not be related to economic prosperity but to the fact that people want to work shorter weeks post-pandemic.

According to a new study, the average worker in Europe is doing 2.2% fewer hours now than pre-Corona – a labour gap equivalent to employing another 3.8 million staff.

In the Netherlands there are currently 122 job vacancies for every person unemployed.

The ING study, published on Tuesday, found that while working weeks are steadily rising, they are well below the levels seen before 2020.

“The argument that the current economy is so strong that it creates labour shortages really doesn’t stand up,” economist and report author Bert Colijn told the FD.

The paper also mentions the large number of women working part time in the Netherlands. Previous studies have related this to a tax and benefits trap: some people pay an effective tax of more than 70% on additional income if they work full time instead of part time, because they lose benefits.

The ING study found that all sectors, men and women and all age groups were working fewer hours after the pandemic.

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