Inclusive growth – a high-employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion

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Inclusive growth means:

  • raising Europe’s employment rate – more and better jobs, especially for women, young people and older workers
  • helping people of all ages anticipate and manage change through investment in skills & training
  • modernising labour markets and welfare systems
  • ensuring the benefits of growth reach all parts of the EU

EU target for inclusive growth include:

  1. 1. 75% employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 by 2020– achieved by getting more people into work, especially women, the young, older and low-skilled people and legal migrants
  2. 2. better educational attainment – in particular:
    reducing school drop-out rates below 10%
    – at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education (or equivalent)
  3. 3. at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion

> All EU-level targets


How will the EU boost inclusive growth?

Through 2 flagship initiatives:

  1. 1. Agenda for new skills and jobs
    • for individuals – helping people acquire new skills, adapt to a changing labour market and make successful career shifts
    • collectively – modernising labour markets to raise employment levels, reduce unemployment, raise labour productivity and ensuring the sustainability of our social models
  2. 2. European platform against poverty
    • ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion
    • guaranteeing respect for the fundamental rights of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, and enabling them to live in dignity and take an active part in society
    • mobilising support to help people integrate in the communities where they live, get training and help to find a job and have access to social benefits

Regional development and investment also support inclusive growth by helping disparities among regions diminish and making sure that the benefits of growth reach all corners of the EU.

> All Europe 2020 flagship initiatives


Why does Europe need inclusive growth?


  • Europe’s workforce is shrinking as a result of demographic change –a smaller workforce is supporting a growing number of inactive people.
  • The EU  must increase its overall employment rate:  The employment rate is particularly low for women (63% against 76% for men aged 20-64) and older workers, aged 55-64 (46% against 62% in the US and Japan).
  • Europeans work short hours – 10% less than their US or Japanese counterparts.
  • The economic crisis has brought high youth unemployment – over 21% – and made it harder for out-of-work people to find jobs.


  • The EU has around 80 million people with low or basic skills – benefiting less from lifelong learning than more educated people.
  • By 2020, 16m more jobs will require high qualifications, with 12m fewer jobs requiring low skill-levels.
  • Acquiring and building on new skills is ever more important.

Fighting poverty

  • Even before the crisis, there were 80m people at risk of poverty, including 19m children.
  • 8% of working people do not earn enough to make it above the poverty line.