Global Labour Report – March 2024

MRINetwork provides analysis and commentary on the monthly U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation data to provide workplace insight for our office owners and clients. Our talent advisory reach also extends globally through a 200+ office network of executive, professional, managerial and technical recruitment specialists. Each month we will supplement this U.S. data with a brief look at current employment data from other key countries. This month, we feature a brief profile of Germany, Ireland, Hungary and Switzerland.

GERMANY

German employment grew 0.5 percent year-on-year to 45.7 million people in January as reported by the Federal Statistics Office. At year-end 2023 German unemployment rate of 3.1 percent was among the lowest in the EU. That same rate continued into January 2024 when the data indicated a slight uptick in the number of unemployed people (+31,000) versus the previous January. With forecasted 2024 GDP growth of 1.3 percent the German unemployment rate is expected to continue to decline to 2.8 percent for full year 2024 in spite of challenges from continued hostilities in Ukraine.

Youth unemployment (age 15-24) in January was 5.7 percent, a relatively low rate compared to the historical average and compared to other European countries. It had reached a record low of 5.5 percent in September 2023.

Read more at Employment continues to increase in January 2024 | Statistisches Bundesamt (Destatis).

Commenting on the relatively weak GDP forecast, Andrea Nahles, head of the Federal Employment Agency pointed to a tight job market with 1.7 million vacancies and a skills shortage that many companies cited as their biggest problem. “These [skilled workers] have very good opportunities because companies are keeping them on as long as they can, despite the weakness,” she said, indicating employers fear that if they shed staff, they will be unable to replace them when the economy recovers because of the dire skills shortage. Analysts anticipate staff retrenchment in the manufacturing sector during 2024 but see positive hiring intentions in the services, engineering and technology sectors.

Read more at Germany does not expect unemployment jump, says labour chief | Financial Times.

Top management recruitment specialists in the MRINetwork bring both talent retention and search capabilities for highly qualified managers, technical, professional and executives in high-demand skilled positions which are currently the focus of German industry leaders.

IRELAND

Ireland’s labour market has undergone what is perhaps the most significant transformation among all EU countries over the past 50 years. The industrial and agricultural sectors accounted for over half of the workforce in 1973 and only 23 percent today as the service sector saw remarkable growth from a 45 percent share five decades ago to 77 percent today. In more recent years Ireland has also seen a large increase in non-Irish citizens in the workforce increasing from about 50,000 to 470,000 over the past 25 years.

Read more at Labour Market | Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Within that dynamic transformation, unemployment in the Irish labour market, while still subject to variation driven by economic conditions, has remained relatively low. In January 2024 the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, unchanged versus the prior month and slightly higher than the year-ago period. For persons aged 25-74 the unemployment rate was 3.3 percent.

Read more at Monthly Unemployment January 2024 | Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Driving demand for skilled workers are efforts by organisations like Enterprise Ireland (EI), a state agency channelling seed capital to firms to support hidden “Irish unicorns,’ characterized by smaller firms with the ability to scale.

Efforts by EI and other organizations have contributed to a 49 percent in annual capital spending by foreign companies in Ireland in 2023 to €15.5bn, according to IDA Ireland, the state agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment. They noted the world’s top global tech and pharmaceutical companies have set up in the country and are major contributors to state coffers via their taxes.

Read more at Enterprise Ireland hunts for hidden unicorns | Financial Times.

MRINetwork management recruitment specialists in Ireland, the UK, throughout the EU, North America and Asia-Pacific are able to source the skilled talent these up-and-coming companies need to meet domestic and offshore hiring needs.

HUNGARY

As of January 2024, the employment rate in Hungary for the 15-74 age group was 74.3 percent, one of the highest rates in Hungary since the 2010s. However, unemployment has been increasing in recent years with a rate of 4.5 percent recorded in January 2024.

As noted by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office the Hungarian employment situation presents a mixed picture. While the country boasts a high employment rate and decreasing long-term unemployment, challenges remain, including rising unemployment, relatively low wages and an economy where worker productivity lags behind the EU average by over 30 percent.

Read more at Labour – Hungarian Central Statistical Office (ksh.hu).

The Hungarian labour market has two main categories of demand in this muted economic environment: IT specialists with a focus on programming, platform engineering, project management and development and in skilled trades such as welders, machinists and other skilled trades.

MRINetwork recruiters, both in-country and cross border have access to top executive, technical, professional and managerial talent in virtually every industry throughout the Hungarian economy.

SWITZERLAND

Swiss unemployment in the fourth quarter of 2023 was 3.9 percent. Rates of employment and productivity among the Swiss labour force remain among the highest in the world driven by a highly educated workforce, an economy that thrives due to its service sector, tourism and its specialised manufacturing sector.

In the final quarter of 2023, the number of people in employment in Switzerland rose by 2.2 percent compared with the same quarter of the previous year. During the same period, the unemployment rate as defined by the International Labour Organisation fell from 4.1 percent to 3.0 percent in Switzerland and from 6.1 to 5.9 percent in the EU.

Read more at Swiss Labour Force Survey in 4th quarter 2023: labour supply | Federal Statistical Office (admin.ch).

The Swiss market is characterized by high demand for skilled workers with over 60 percent of companies struggling to recruit talent in virtually every industry including healthcare, IT and engineering.

MRINetwork offices in Switzerland, throughout the EU, in the UK, North America and Asia Pacific serve the needs of clients in filling the most challenging search projects.