Unemployment Insurance Fund: Serious labor shortage persists in Estonia | Economy



Like a study last year, there is currently a shortage of audiologists and speech-language pathologists as well as software developers, the Unemployment Insurance Fund said.

Livia Laas, spokesperson for the board, explained that while there are people with computer training in Estonia, a large part of them are mid-level specialists; meanwhile, there is a shortage of both high-level specialists and people doing minor computer work.

A severe shortage of caregivers has emerged in health facilities. “This was clearly demonstrated at the end of last year when the coronavirus figures became critical and residents and workers in nursing homes contracted the virus – finding labor then was difficult and remains difficult now, ”Laas said.

Finding employees for positions located in areas poorly served by transportation is even more difficult. This particularly affects small rural areas, as access to place or work is complicated in many cases by the lack of a driver’s license and poor public transport service.

This is also the case for nursing homes struggling with a labor shortage – commuting is a concern for nursing homes located in rural areas, especially during night shifts.

“An increasing number of employers have started looking for a solution to this problem,” Laas said. Shuttles transporting employees to the workplace and back is one of the solutions; However, not all employers are able to offer this service, she added.

There is also a shortage of skilled workers, such as welders. “Today there is again a serious shortage of manpower in some fields in Estonia,” noted Laas.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund spokeswoman said the good news from a workers’ point of view is that no significant underemployment was detected in this year’s assessment. “Last fall’s barometer showed that tourism and travel were hit hard at the time and that there was a surplus of workers in this area. There are none today, luckily, ”she added.

Minor underemployment appears in administrative positions, which are gradually taken over by technology. “For example, IT managers, accountants and assistants – in these positions, computers do a lot of the work. This means less human labor is needed,” noted Laas.

In conclusion, both the barometer and the employers’ perspective show that the coronavirus crisis has not caused big changes or confusion in the job market. “The number of jobs has gone down, of course, and employers have been struggling; however, there are currently no drastic shocks like in the previous crisis in 2008,” she said.

Laas added that although the number of unemployed increased by 20,000 compared to last year, this figure has started to decline in the past two months and the labor market is gradually recovering.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund began its labor demand studies in 2016. The study aims to map labor shortages and surpluses in different areas, broken down by county. The study is carried out annually in April and October and the results are announced a few months later.

The forecasts are drawn up by employer consultants from the regional services of the Unemployment Insurance Fund with contributions also from external experts, such as regional development centers, vocational and higher education institutions, employers and portals. employment.

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