Rising wages, elevated job vacancies and historically low unemployment highlight reasons for cautious optimism amid inflation and skills shortages

London, UK – Magnit, a global Integrated Workforce Management (IWM) Platform provider, today released its Spring/Summer 2024 Europe Labour Market Report. Analysing billions of data points across a variety of metrics, the report revealed historic unemployment lows, cooling inflation, competitive wages and a heightened demand for high-skill roles — underscoring a tight, yet cautiously optimistic job landscape.

The report also spotlights the top skills sought across Europe, with high-demand positions of software developers and data scientists reflecting the increase in AI adoption amid efforts to combat talent shortages.

“The report indicates that Europe’s labour economy rebounded faster than expected in 2023, but organisations still face an extremely competitive hiring environment,” says Sam Smith, President of Global Client Delivery at Magnit. “Unemployment is unlikely to fall much further, so organisations must rethink their value proposition to land top talent while also redeploying and upskilling existing workforces wherever possible.”

The analysis from Magnit reveals the key market trends that present a remarkable shift in the European labour market and the challenges and opportunities ahead. Findings include:

  • Inflation slows as unemployment figures reach record low. The end of 2023 marked a record-breaking time for the job market, with the EU unemployment rate reaching an all-time low of 5.9%. Czechia, Malta and Germany recorded the lowest unemployment rates of the year within the EU, while Spain, Greece and Sweden reported the highest. There was also a significant decline in inflation across Europe, with the overall rate falling to 3.1% in January 2024 — down from a high of 8.5% in October 2022.
  • Europe makes strides in AI adoption. Last year saw significant growth in the number of job categories that included AI-related skills, with a surge in demand for AI-proficient professionals seen across markets such as the UK and Germany. Across Europe, 8% of companies are now using AI, a 3% increase compared to 2021. However, investment in the region continues to lag behind the United States, with investment figures reaching $1.7 billion in generative AI in 2023 compared to the $23 billion in funding in the U.S.
  • Low unemployment drives nominal wage increases. The decrease in unemployment numbers spurred a nominal wage increase of 3.5% across the EU. These figures varied greatly between nations; Hungary and Bulgaria saw wage growth rates of 16.4% and 15.5%, while Denmark and Italy experienced more modest growth of 2.2% and 2.3% respectively. When inflation is considered, wage growth does become slightly less impressive, however towards the end of the year inflation slowed, leading to several months of positive wage growth.
  • Vacancy rates stay stable, with a healthy demand for skilled workers. The EU vacancy rate remained stable in 2023 and ended the year at 2.9%, a slight increase upon Q4 of 2022. Despite ongoing economic challenges, this indicates that there remains strong demand for highly skilled workers. The UK and Germany had the largest number of job vacancies in terms of volume, with roles in healthcare and technology being especially in demand.

“The last several years delivered a barrage of challenges for organisations, but Europe emerges in a strong position, with a reinforced labour market and renewed mandate for change. With the right data-backed strategies, companies across the region can attract highly skilled talent and remain competitive amid evolving economic indicators,” added Smith.

Magnit’s Spring/Summer 2024 Europe Labour Market Report

This report was developed by Magnit Strategic Advisory, comprising over 100 MBAs, PhDs, CPAs and business analysts. The team analysed proprietary data aggregated from hundreds of Global 2000 client programmes to provide actionable insights on Europe’s talent landscape. Specifically for this report, Magnit focused on professional and technology roles across the European Union, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

To learn more about the latest Europe labour market trends, including in-demand job roles/skills and strategies for addressing the impact of EU Directive 2023/970, download the full report.

About Magnit
Magnit™ is a global leader and pioneer in contingent workforce management. Our industry-leading Integrated Workforce Management (IWM) Platform is supported by 30+ years of innovation, modern software, proven expertise, and world-class data and intelligence. It enables companies to optimise talent and diversity goals while achieving operational and financial success. With Magnit, companies can adapt quickly to the evolution of work to grow their extended workforce with greater agility, transparency, and speed. magnitglobal.com

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