ETUI-ETUC seminar
Thon Brussels City Centre and Zoom

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to labour market tightness, in which the demand for labour is at least as strong as the supply. Labour shortages have been recorded in some sectors, particularly those involving intensive social contact, where due to safety considerations, former employees have been hesitating to return to their jobs.

There are however also other underlying factors such as unfavorable working conditions and declined labour migration which have had an influence on the move of workers, putting upward pressure on the bargaining capacity of workers and their trade unions. The ETUC believes that labour market tightness provides for enhanced bargaining power for workers, and while many challenges needs to be addressed, this is an opportunity for trade unions to improve working conditions for workers.

This seminar will try to explore the reasons behind the pressing phenomenon of labour market shortage and put forward measures to address it.

The topic will be addresses from the point of view of different political actors, including employers’ organisations, trade unions and the European Commission, as well as the research community.




Introduction and chair: Sotiria Theodoropoulou, Head of unit European economic, employment and social policies, ETUI

Which workers are lacking? Profile of sectors with labour shortages, Wouter Zwysen, Senior Researcher ETUI Download here the presentation

Working conditions as driver for labour market shortages in the health sector, Paula Franklin, Senior Researcher ETUI Download here the presentation 


Roundtable discussion with:

Claes-Mikael Ståhl, Deputy general secretary, European Trade Union Confederation

Maxime Cerutti, Director of BusinessEurope’s Social Affairs department

Joost Korte, Director-General of Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission


Interpretation in French, Spanish, Italian and German will be available for the online audience. Language in the meeting room: English.

The event will be in a hybrid format – participation will be possible in the room and via Zoom.

Lunch will be offered to the participants at the conference venue from 11h45.