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After decades marked by struggles to combat high unemployment, today’s main challenge is labour market shortages. Since the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the economic slowdown driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, EU labour markets have demonstrated remarkable resilience. Employment reached a record high in 2022 and the trend is expected to continue. Most companies, in the EU and beyond, are now struggling to fill vacancies. Labour and skill shortages in several sectors are the new problems to overcome. What are the reasons behind these shortages? Are these only temporary issues? Has unemployment ceased to be a burning issue? What policy options could address these challenges? Based on their presentations at the 2024 edition of the Centre for European Policy Studies’ flagship conference, Ideas Lab, the contributors to this Forum attempt to answer these questions, discussing recent shifts in the labour market and policy solutions to address the different sources of shortages.

© The Author(s) 2024

Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Open Access funding provided by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.


DOI: 10.2478/ie-2024-0026