Success in raising employment levels and living standards in Europe depends on effective support policies as well as positive macro-economic strategies. In this respect, this year’s Employment and Social Developments review addresses a range of issues.
It starts by looking at the contribution of entrepreneurship and self-employment to job creation and growth and the need to tackle the difficulties faced by the self-employed and notably micro and small companies. It then looks at the role of labour legislation in supporting more and better jobs and the need to strike the right balance between flexibility and protection. It then moves on to look at the best actions to avoid unemployment turning into long-term unemployment and inactivity. More broadly, given technology change, globalisation and population ageing, which translates into a reduction in the working-age population, the EU needs to increase employment and increase productivity. Mobility and migration can play an important role here. In relation to this, Europe needs to improve skills and better match skills with evolving demands. It also needs to promote labour market participation of older workers and women. Social policies, including pension policies and family policies (for example, child care and long-term care), can support longer working lives and increase employment of women. Promoting social dialogue and the involvement of social partners in the development of employment and social policies may help the implementation and effectiveness of such policies.
The review is available in printed and electronic format in English. All the graphs and tables can be downloaded both in gif and excel format by accessing the individual chapters.
The economic recovery is firming up and levels of employment and unemployment are gradually recovering but remain respectively lower and higher than they were in 2008. Long-term, very long-term and youth unemployment remain high in many Member States, notably in those hardest hit by the crisis. In some countries, inequalities and poverty have also increased significantly. The impact of the crisis has differed widely across Member States, and differences across countries are larger than in 2008. Such divergences reflect not only the uneven impact of the crisis, but also the uneven capacity of Member State economies and institutions to absorb the shocks and limit their impact. Improving the economic and employment situation and restoring convergence will depend on improving the resilience of the EU economies, notably the most vulnerable economies, through a combination of higher investment, the implementation of labour market and social policies and the strengthening of social dialogue to enable the social partners to make an essential contribution to the recovery.
Self-employment and entrepreneurship are important sources of job creation. One in six people in employment are self-employed and small and micro-enterprises provide a third of all jobs. Ongoing structural changes (e.g. technology change) create new ways of working in which flexibility and vision can provide new opportunities for smaller businesses. The challenge for Europe is to contribute to the development of the framework conditions that promote start-ups and their expansion and pay due regard to underrepresented groups such as women and youth. This includes investment in entrepreneurial education and financial literacy as well as conventional career guidance, skills development and access to finance.
This chapter looks at how labour law can support the creation of more and better jobs. Non-standard work contracts cover a wide range of situations that include part-time, fixed-term or seasonal work, as well as on-demand, on-call and agency work, project contracts, job-sharing, lending and pool arrangements, and crowdsourcing. This is associated with structural changes such as technological progress and globalisation which are changing the world of work. The increasing variety of contracts makes a case for re-evaluating existing labour legislation requirements to ensure a fair balance between flexibility and security. Indeed, while flexibility is needed, some contracts can bring about work uncertainty, spells of (uncovered) unemployment, fewer working hours, less social protection and less autonomy in work decisions. The chapter then focuses on two specific areas governed by labour law: employment protection legislation (EPL) and occupational safety and health (OSH). It analyses the relationship between the effectiveness of the civil justice system and EPL, and how these two combined may affect labour market outcomes. It concludes that labour market dynamics are significantly affected by the effectiveness of the justice system.
Levels of long-term and very long-term unemployment are at record highs, with the chances of finding a job being much lower (50% lower) than for the short-term unemployed. Nevertheless the labour market attachment of those without jobs has held up during the crisis, unlike in the US. The young, the low-skilled and third-country nationals have seen their long-term unemployment rates increase the most. However, the old and low-skilled, once in long-term unemployment, have the lowest chance of returning to work. An in-depth analysis shows that policy interventions are a key influence in helping the long-term unemployed back into work. Participating in training or education, being registered with the public employment services and receiving unemployment benefits are key positive factors even when controlling for macro-economic circumstances and personal characteristics.
Population ageing translates into a decline in the working-age population. To achieve higher growth, Europe needs to increase employment rates (including through mobility) and productivity growth and tap into migration. Mobile people in the EU tend to be young and highly educated and their employment rates are higher than those of the native population. Mobility has been increasing across the EU over the past two decades but remains low compared to other countries around the world. Moreover, mobile workers are under-represented in fast-growing sectors in the economy and work in jobs below their qualifications. Third-country migrant workers are a diverse pool but on average hold lower qualifications which can explain why on average they have lower employment rates. Highly qualified migrants instead have similar or higher chances than natives of being employed. This suggests that promoting skills can play an important role.
This chapter considers different dimensions of the functioning and effectiveness of social dialogue at national level, with a specific focus on membership of social partner organisations, collective bargaining, as well as trust, cooperation and conflict. Furthermore, the chapter considers the role of social partners in the design and implementation of policies and reforms, particularly in the framework of the European Semester. The chapter finds that in a challenging environment, social partners can play a key role in promoting a social market economy. More analysis on the critical success factors (including capacity building) would be useful.
Ensuring that adequate high-quality skills are available and well-employed in the labour market remains an ongoing challenge for European policymakers, particularly in the face of numerous demographic, economic and social pressures. This chapter examines the extent to which Europe experiences mismatches on both sides of the market. Improving outcomes requires effective forecasting, relevant training for young people, active support for older workers to retrain, and wider visibility and recognition of skills acquired informally or across borders. Employers, as well as government, have a role and responsibility in such measures.
This chapter looks at recent developments in relation to the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection systems in Europe over the life course. Its main focus is family policies and those that promote a longer working life. The first part of this chapter examines expenditure trends and the recent development of the effectiveness and efficiency of social protection systems. The second part looks at social protection in relation to childhood and late careers, which are two specific stages in the life cycle.
This working paper looks at poverty dynamics in Europe. Analysing poverty dynamics, i.e. incorporating time dimension to the analysis, helps to better understand the characteristics and various facets of poverty. In addition to looking at persistent poverty, it is important to look at the probability of exiting and entering poverty in different groups of the population and at poverty trajectories of the poor. This working paper presents empirical evidence on various issues related to poverty dynamics based on EU-SILC longitudinal data spanning from 2008 to 2012.
This note reviews the main drivers of inequality in the European Union and reflects on what can be done about it at EU level. It explains the distinction between inequalities of opportunities and inequalities of outcomes and discusses how inequality affects growth and the labour market.
This publications is available only in electronic version.
This working paper constitutes the first deliverable of the study “Feasibility and Added Value of a European Unemployment Benefit Scheme”, commissioned by DG EMPL and carried out by a consortium led by CEPS. The objective of the paper is to frame the debate on a European shock absorber around its origins on the one hand, and its most controversial aspects, on the other.
This publication is available only in electronic version in English.
This analytical web-note provides an overview on the recent trends in poverty and social exclusion statistics, based on the indicator of at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) and its three components: at-risk of poverty, severe material deprivation and jobless households. It provides an update of the European Commission (2014) supplement on "Trends in Poverty and Social Exclusion".
In 2012 the European Parliament asked the Commission to set up a Preparatory Action to support Member States in building Youth Guarantee partnerships and trialling associated services among young people aged 15-24. 18 pilot projects were launched between August and December 2013, with each delivered over a 12-month period. This report offers a detailed review of the Preparatory Action, individual pilot projects funded by it in particular. It explores the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and added value of the pilot projects and presents conclusions related to the organisation and potential of the pilots. An executive summary in six languages (see below) and six individual case studies are also available.
This policy brief on social impact measurement for social enterprises was produced by the OECD and the European Commission. It presents the issues and ongoing debates surrounding social impact measurement and provides concrete examples of measurement methods. It highlights the concept of proportional measurement, in other words balancing up the costs and benefits of the measuring process. The policy brief also looks at guidance and resources for use by social enterprises and how to create a more widespread culture of measurement among stakeholders despite their often limited human and financial resources.
This publication is available in electronic format in English, French and German.
Labour market outcomes have been improving against the background of a modest recovery. The unemployment rate in the EU appears unusually reactive to the weak recovery. Yet, it stood above pre-crisis levels, at around 9.5% in the EU and 11% in the euro area in May 2015. Labour market disparities have started to fall across the EU and the euro area.
This publication is available in English and online only.
This analytical web-note contains an extensive update of the main demographic trends for the EU and a labour-market supplement which outlines the potential consequences of the forthcoming demographic change (declining working-age population) on the EU's growth perspective. The Demography Report was jointly produced by DG Eurostat and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission.
This publication is only available in electronic format in English.
Work-based learning, in particular apprenticeships can enhance employability, notably of young people, and help to address the skills shortages to better match companies' needs. Of great benefit to learners and companies alike, these schemes also contribute to Europe's objective of ensuring sustainable growth and employment. This brochure focuses on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) launched in 2013 and addresses the challenges and possible answers of how to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships. This is also in line with the new set of medium-term deliverables agreed at European level in the field of VET for the period 2015-2020. The brochure features examples of successful and inspiring apprenticeship and other work-based learning policy initiatives and projects across Europe.
This publication is available in printed and electronic format in English, French and German.