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27 things we didn’t know about the European labour market (part 1/2)

There is no such thing as one European labour market. If you want to recruit from abroad, you have to know the differences between countries. In this first article of a two-part series, we delve into 27 eye-opening insights stemming from a new, thorough report.

Jasper Spanjaart on July 13, 2022 Average reading time: 3 min
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27 things we didn’t know about the European labour market (part 1/2)

A clear-cut European labour market? The bad news is it doesn’t quite exist. Just as much as you could make the argument that the job market in the US can’t be viewed as singular, Europe is renowned for hosting many cultures and subcultures across its member states. Knowing the differences and intricacies of the continent will undoubtedly help you recruit more successfully across borders. Just that was at the heart of Intelligence Group’s newest report: the European Talent Intelligence Manual 2022. 

“These surprising insights are the secrets to being successful in recruiting.”

Based on extensive research and combining that with the finest data from Eurostat, Intelligence Group recently launched the first European manual of its kind. “With the emergence of the Talent Intelligence phenomenon, local customisation in the recruitment approach can be automated”, said Geert-Jan Waasdorp, founder of the research company. “The important arguments of scalability and uniformity have to be met. These surprising insights are the secrets to being successful in recruiting. Which local job boards work? Which social media are effective ad what are the specific motivations of employees on a country-by-country basis? All the do’s and don’ts for each individual country are in there.”

The first 13 insights

So — which surprising insights does this first-ever edition of the European Talent Intelligence Manual 2022 exactly yield? We delve into 27 of them, the same number that the report has information on. 

#1. More than 320 million workers

Around 320 million people are employed across Europe, while the total population lies at 447 million. Quick maths shows that 23% play no part in the working population. Of the working population, approximately 7% is unemployed. Comparing genders, women make up 7.4% while men make up 6.7% of the total number. Sweden leads the way, with 87.3% of all inhabitants being a part of the working population. Italy, meanwhile, comes in last, with 68.2%.

Of the European working population, approximately 7% is unemployed.

#2. Least ageing in Luxembourg; most in Italy

Ageing, overall, is viewed as one of the continent’s biggest issues moving forward. While the ageing may be on the wall for Italy in the prior insight, further data backs that up. According to the report, Italy has only 2.7 potential workers among the 65+ age category. In Luxembourg that number is a continent-leading 4.8, narrowly followed by Iceland (4.5) and Ireland (4.4).

According to the report, Italy has only 2.7 potential workers among the 65+ age category.

#3. East and west: big differences in number of part-timers

The part-time culture is very common in Western Europe, but Switzerland and the Netherlands lead the charge. For both countries no less than 39% work less than 34 hours a week. The same can’t be said about the Eastern countries. In Bulgaria only 2% of the total working population works part-time , and in the rest of the Eastern Europe the percentage hardly ever exceeds 5%.

#4. Norwegians highest wage costs

At 51.10 euro’s per hour, Norwegians have the highest wage costs in the European labour market (Switzerland is excluded). Meanwhile, many of the richer countries’ wage costs lie around 37 to 42 euros per hour. Portugal (16 euros) and Croatia (11.20 euros) come out of the report as definitive low-wage countries. Bulgaria, renowned for its vast number of full-timers, comes in at a continent-low of only 7 euros per hour.

Many of the richer countries’ wage costs lie around 37 to 42 euros per hour.

#5. Women earn more in Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania

When it comes to equal pay, women earn more than men in three European countries: Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania. Several countries, meanwhile, still have work to do. Lithuania (5.14%), Czech Republic (5.07%) and Switzerland (4.99%) come off worst. The UK is at relatively high 4.68%, while the Netherlands (4.13%) is also a high scorer.

When it comes to equal pay, women earn more than men in three European countries: Bulgaria, Estonia and Romania.

#6. Romania’s 19 Big Mac’s

The Big Mac Index (as once developed by The Economist), among other things, intends to estimate the value of a currency, while showcasing the differences in prices for the same product.  It turns out that in Romania you can buy 19 Big Mac’s for 50 dollars, while you can only get 7 Big Mac’s in Switzerland for the same amount of money. Regardless, the Swiss on average earn five times as much as Romanians. 

#7. InfoJobs is Europe’s surprising number 3 job board  

It will come as little surprise that Indeed and LinkedIn are (by far) the most popular job boards in all of Europe. But with InfoJobs, the continent has a rather surprising bronze medalist, finishing in front of familiar names such as Monster and StepStone. The job board has therefore been working since 1998 in (mainly) Spain and Italy to steer the vacancy traffic in the right direction.

#8. The Swedes love LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s high usage across European’s working population is as clear-cut as it comes, but Sweden leads the overall usage number when it comes to job search. In the land of IKEA, approximately 52% of job seekers search for a job on LinkedIn. The Netherlands (43%) is also LinkedIn-savvy. Meanwhile, Belgium (14%), the UK (18%), Germany (11%), Austria (9%) and Slovakia (3%) clearly rely much less on one of the world’s most-popular social networks and job sites. 

In the land of IKEA, approximately 52% of job seekers search for a job on LinkedIn.

#9. Indeed popular in UK; not so much in Baltic region

Indeed’s shares are spread evenly. Atop the list is the United Kingdom, with 74% of job seekers seeking Indeed. France (61%) and Germany (58%) round off the top three. Meanwhile, it appears the Baltic region and certain Scandinavian countries don’t care much for Indeed. In countries such as Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria, but also Denmark and Finland, Indeed appears to be almost entirely absent.

It appears the Baltic region and certain Scandinavian countries don’t care much for Indeed.

#10. Iceland excels at word processing

Are you looking for people who can do word processing? Then your best bet is Iceland. 78% of Iceland’s working population say they are skilled at word processing, more than any other country in Europe. The Netherlands is also doing well with 71%.

#11. Finland’s photoshop skills

While Iceland seems the chosen destination for word processpors, the Finns seem to excel in another digital skill: photo editing. Renowned for its majestic landscapes, it should come as little that 54% of Finland’s working population says it is skilled at editing photos. It leads the way in Europe, with Austria (46%), the Netherlands (45%) and Luxembourg (44%) rounding off the top four. 

#12. Germany’s the favourite destination

Germany is the most popular (25%) country for immigrants, but people also like living and working in Spain (20%), France (17%) and the UK (17%). 

#13. London, Paris and Berlin still lead the way

In terms of favourite cities to relocate to, London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid lead the way. Amsterdam, renowned for housing HQ’s, is rated on a similar level as the capital of Austria, Vienna. When asked where they might want to work, if they were going to work abroad, Europeans were more likely to answer New York and Sydney.

This article is part one of a two-part series into the 27 eye-opening insights stemming from Intelligence Group’s European Talent Intelligence Manual 2022. Look out for the next article in the coming week, with the remaining 14 insights. 
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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Editor-in-Chief and Writer at ToTalent.eu
Editor-in-Chief and writer for European Total Talent Acquisition platform ToTalent.eu.
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