If Spain has 5 million unemployed, why have they run out of workers?

The unemployment rate for Spain is sky-high, so this makes no logical sense at all. Does it?

How on earth is it possible for this to be correct?

Spain has a little under 5 million unemployed across the country yet one company, The Ackerman Beaumont Group, quoted by Bloomberg, recently spent a frustrating two months in Spain looking for candidates for their client (in this case specialist consultants) – yet they left filling only one position.

This is totally bizarre right?

Not only that… it has brought the economic crisis back to the forefront. It reflects the strange, even bizarre Spanish labour market that is without a doubt, hampering Spain’s efforts when trying to repair the damage inflicted due to the crisis. Climbing out of a hole? It’s seemingly a bottomless pit, as Spain is still below it’s 2008 GDP peak. In July, Spain’s acting government revised its gross domestic product forecast for this year, predicting that the economy would grow by 2.9 per cent rather than the 2.7 per cent previously suggested. Sharp bursts on the increase of employment figures due to tourism were only temporary and short-lived bursts.

Yet companies are struggling to fill posts it seems, and skilled ones at that, due to mis-matched qualifications. With an unemployment rate of 20.4 percent,  within the 28-country bloc, Spain is the second highest. A recent research study showed that by 2020, Spain may struggle to fill almost 2 million jobs. Did Mariano Rajoy know what he was doing? He pledged to add half a million jobs a year, but his campaign focused on posts for the legions of unemployed, rather than producing skilled workers to power the economy. Rajoy’s opponents say that his policy of driving down wages and stripping back job protection has been the creation of poorly-paid, low-skill posts to date.


So the workforce does not have the skills required… now what?

This dire situation is holding back the Spanish economy like a stubborn spanner in the works. The skills shortage is a drag on productivity, delays investment, and strains a pension system which is dependent on new workers with good salaries to pay for the aging population.

Mariano Rajoy who failed to secure his second parliamentary position in August, only deepened the country’s political crisis after two inconclusive elections. Signor Rajoy came to power in 2011 and is credited with steering Spain back from the brink of economic meltdown using harsh doses of austerity. But unemployment remained stubbornly high, and the PP was mired in a corruption scandal.

It seems that education and work do not connect in Spain, as you would find elsewhere in the world.

Where a college education would be designed to get you a job, say in the US for instance – is not the case in Spain. Spain has had seven different education laws since 1978. But arguments about the use of regional languages like Catalan or the status of religious teaching, have often crowded out debate about more fundamental problems that have led to a high-school dropout rate that is twice the European average. Why is that? Is this age-old habit of tradition that Spain seems to hold on to for dear life this damaging? We all have our traditions, but Spain’s are causing a crisis on top of a crisis. Call me ‘loco’ but what on earth is going on here?

This is a problem that has been decades in the making.

Even the most senior positions have a far lower caliber candidate than their European counterparts. In fact, Spanish executives are less-skilled than their competitors in Germany, France and Italy, according to a study of 11 European countries. Only Greece came out worse.

Spain is having an extra long siesta when it comes to investing in technology it seems. What they do invest – is a fraction of what they need to begin the job of training skilled professionals in digital roles. Unless there is change, it will be a long and weary road ahead for Spain, one that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Well not in the short-term at least – long term… who knows?

Feature Image- Statistics/MailOnline

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