Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 25/03/2010

Sector Councils on Employment and Skills at EU level

This report presents the results of a study that assessed the feasibility of setting up Sector Councils on employment and skills at the European level (EU level Sector Councils).

Sector Councils on Employment and Skills at EU level

Sector councils are platforms at sector level where stakeholders seek to gain insight into the likely developments in employment and skills needs, with the aim of assisting policy making within or for this sector. Transversal councils are similar to sector councils, but cover trends and developments in two or more sectors of the labour market.

The study used a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to obtain information. Five sectors were studied in more depth: construction, textiles and clothing, ICT, horeca, and the hospital sector.

Sector councils for employment and skills exist in approximately half of the Member States. In addition, in many other Member States these issues are being discussed and decided upon from a sector point of view in transversal councils. Positive effects of such councils on sectors, enterprises, employees and employers have been be observed.

Cross country co-operation between sector councils at present is rare, but stakeholders in the Member States expect EU level Sector Councils to boost the effectiveness of national councils and to have a positive impact on the responsiveness of education systems to future labour market needs. More indirect impacts on e.g. the competitiveness of the sector are expected to be smaller and occurring in the long term.

The feasibility of establishing and successfully operating EU level Sector Councils can be rated as high, provided the appropriate conditions are respected.

The study recommends that the Commission,

  • proceed with promoting EU level Sector Councils for Employment and Skills
  • initially focusing on information exchange,
  • accompanied by and a more limited support line for policy development

It is proposed to launch the first initiative in a limited number of sectors, evaluate their functioning in the second year and decide on continued support based on this evaluation.

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