每日跟讀#569: Now Hiring: Anyone
When Peter Enevoldsen won a lucrative order for the precision tractor parts that his company, Sjorring Maskinfabrik, makes in northern Denmark, his eyes lit up. The contract was worth more than half a million euros — a boon for his profits.
There was just one hitch: He did not have enough employees for the job.
Delivery was delayed, by one month, then two, then three, as he searched for skilled welders to speed the work at the sprawling factory. But in Denmark’s fast-recovering economy, they were hard to come by.
As Europe rebounds from its economic malaise, Denmark is one of a few countries that can boast of nearing a golden era of full employment, meaning almost everyone who is able and willing to work has a job. But instead of being cheered, it is posing new challenges to the country’s recovery.
More than a third of companies in this industrial and technically advanced nation can no longer recruit enough skilled workers to fill posts. Vacancies abound for IT specialists, computer scientists, engineers and mechanics, as well as for electricians and carpenters. The wages needed to lure them are creeping up. Affected firms are scaling back production, turning down contracts and postponing expansion plans.
“We need more skilled workers, but we can’t get them,” said Enevoldsen, who recently joined other companies in a nationwide advertising campaign to lure talent. “If the labor shortage continues, it could sharply impact our growth, and growth in general.”
Europe’s recovery is gaining traction fastest in the north, where Britain, Germany and Denmark’s Nordic neighbors also pushing toward full employment. The unemployment rate has fallen in the United States as well, and some economists have expressed optimism the country may be headed in that direction.
But the experience in Denmark shows what can happen with too much of a good thing.
This country of just under 6 million people produces a diverse range of goods, from drugs to industrial machinery. To bolster its tech sector, the government recently named a “technology ambassador” to conduct relations with Google and other digital giants.
After a painful recession, unemployment is now at 4.3 percent, which is about as low as it can go without provoking inflation. During an economic boom a decade ago, joblessness fell as low as 2.4 percent, igniting an unsustainable spiral of higher wages and prices that the government desperately wants to avoid today.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/311586/web/#2L-9688602L