Aging of society and lack of specialized workers (semi-skilled): a new map of migration

Following the economic crisis and the reduction of many jobs worldwide, it is difficult to address the question of labour shortage in such a context. In Switzerland, the shortage of skilled and semi-skilled work force has been an important issue for its economic dynamism prior to the global economic crisis and will continue to be important in the decades to come due to its demographic "time bomb" caused by an aging population. At all skills levels, this greying effect will increasingly exasperate the already evident labour shortages in several key sectors of the economy such as tourism, construction and agriculture. In the next decades, the demographic impact of an aging society will be felt in all sectors if no effective mitigation measures are undertaken now.

As a way to address its labour force shortage, Switzerland has mostly imported workers from the European Union (EU) countries. Access to the Swiss labour market for workers outside Europe are reserved for workers with very high qualifications. While many of the EU countries are confronted with similar or even more severe demographic deficit, the question for Switzerland to ask is from where would Switzerland be able to source its missing human resources? Labour shortage will become a pressing national policy concern in the not too distance future, if no planned response is taken now.

Original Title in French: Vieillissement de la population et manque de travailleurs spécialisés: une nouvelle carte migratoire

Original Title in German: Demografische Alterung und Arbeitskräftemangel: Eine neue Landkarte der Migration?

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