The metallurgical and metalworking industry needs 25,000 employees, although it created 18 thousand new jobs last year, warns Rafael Campos Pereira, executive vice president of the Association of Metallurgical and Metal Mechanics and Allied Industries of Portugal (AIMMAP). "The growth of the sector was very relevant," and companies have employees for "virtually all functions," he says.
In 2017, exports reached a record of 16.4 billion euros, an increase of 12% compared with 2016. In May, foreign trade was 1692 million, the 21st consecutive month in which foreign sales exceeded the billion.
Already last year, AIMMAP had drawn attention to the lack of employees in the sector, at which time a gap of 28 thousand professionals was estimated. And as Rafael Campos emphasized Pereira, despite the recruitment of 18,000 employees, it was not possible to respond to the needs of the industry.
The official emphasizes that work "becomes less physical" and wages have increased. "The minimum wages are residual and if we compare it with other industrial sectors or with the hotel sector they are 30% higher", guarantees. Yet the industry does not attract new professionals.
However, he says that Portuguese companies can not compete with rewards in other European regions & # 39; s and in the Gulf states. "There is still emigration, particularly to Germany and the Gulf States," markets where wages are three times as high as those in Portugal and with more attractive tax conditions. "We export labor, our employees are known for their quality and good qualifications."
Women are gradually entering the sector. This trend is confirmed by AIMMAP and by the Center for Vocational Training of the Metal and Metallurgical Industry (CENFIM). According to Rafael Campos Pereira, "they are playing a growing role, the sector is more technological, jobs have greater added value, which goes far beyond physical strength" and this makes entering the female gender into a traditional male.
Susana Graça Moura, director of CENFIM in Porto, also acknowledges that "there are more women in production, management and leadership positions", and this reality is expressed in companies, but also in training centers.
"The metal sector is seen as heavier, less clean, less attractive and still has fewer students than trainees, but the situation is changing", says Susana Graça Moura. Automation and robotisation of companies have helped women to enter these industrial areas. Functions such as welder are not really suitable for the female gender because it is very heavy, "but there are cases where it requires more rigorous work for which women are more eager and more sought after," he said.
The CENFIM courses, the center that answers through 13 structures spread throughout the country, have almost 100% employability. "We receive orders from companies every day," says Susana Graça Moura, "but CENFIM can not respond to all requests."
The metallurgical and metal mechanics sector employs more than 174,000 people in 2016, with men representing 75% of the total, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security.
with Teresa Costa