This will reflect a trend to increased automation in such countries as Germany, France, Italy and the UK – and the creation and movement of labour-intensive operations to lower-wage economies such as those in Eastern Europe.
However it is also expected that wage rates will continue to be higher than in mainstream manufacturing and continue to climb faster thanks to skills shortages across the continent. This is one reason IPC – the PCB industry association – commissioned the study and launched it with an announcement of a training initiative in Europe.
Electronics employment across the 28 member states of the European Union stood at 2.4 million in 2018 or about 8 percent of total manufacturing employment. It had climbed quite sharply from 2.2 million in 2015. Going forward it is expected to continue growing more slowly at 0.2 percent per year over the period 2018 to 2023.
The lessons of the past have been that most of the growth in recent years (2011 to 2018) has come in Eastern Europe – at more than 5 percent per annum in Romania and Latvia while it has decreased in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy and Sweden.
Ranking of electronic sector employment by country (000s of jobs) and as percentage of EU28. Sources: Oxford Economics, Haver, Eurostat.
However, what happens in Germany, which employed one-third of all the European Union's electronics workers in 2018 is what is most significant. At 813,000 Germany employed almost four times as many as the next most populous employment countries; France (212,000), Italy (201,000) and UK (196,000), according to Oxford Economics.
Next: The future.