This year’s ESDE report offers an in-depth and wide-ranging review of key labour market and social challenges facing the EU as it slowly emerges from recession. Where will Europe’s new jobs come from in an increasingly competitive global economy? Will active inclusion policies support help address rising levels of poverty among those of working age? Will the improvement in the position of women on the labour market during the crisis be sustained or slip away with the recovery? Is the divisive issue of undeclared work being effectively addressed? Will all Member States progress equally, or do the weakest risk falling further behind? Have national social security systems been effective and efficient in maintaining incomes during the recession and in addressing their longer-term goals? Do we need to adapt the ways we measure economic and social progress in order to take proper account of inequalities? The report will be 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.
There are signs of fragile economic recovery, but economic growth is unlikely to be sustained unless it is inclusive and job rich, especially while labour market and social conditions remain extremely challenging and divergence between countries is growing. The EU is struggling with many challenges such as high unemployment, labour mismatches, and increasing numbers of young people not in education, employment and training. Poverty and social exclusion has increased, especially for the working age population, and household incomes declined. Social expenditure, which had served to offset the effects of the recession in the first phase, was then reduced in the second phase, partly contributing to the weakening of the stabilisation effect of social transfers after 2011.
Divergences between countries have been growing, especially within the Euro Area, although all Member States get affected either directly through reduced aggregate demand, erosion of human capital and competitiveness and the undermining of confidence, or indirectly through trade. Persistent divergences between countries may weaken the economic fundamentals of the EU as a whole, and they are a sign that the core objectives of the EU, to benefit all its members and to improve the life of citizens, are not being reached.
The EU is a strong global economy but, as it emerges from recession, it faces many far-reaching challenges – increasingly specialised trade and production, rapidly evolving technologies, and ever increasing concerns about demographic and environmental challenges. This chapter considers the evidence of where Europe’s new jobs come from, what they will look like in terms of content and skills, and what kind of education, training and support will be required. It foresees growth in high quality jobs that exploit the EU’s comparative advantage, as well as new jobs in the health and care sectors.
Rising rates of unemployment during the crisis years have resulted in increased levels of poverty among the working age population. This chapter explores whether current safety nets protect those who are out of work from serious and persistent poverty, and whether obtaining a job is likely to be an effective form of escape, given the extent of in-work poverty. It finds that adequate social benefits, whether financial or in kind, need to be combined with appropriate active labour market policy support if a successful and lasting return to the labour market is to be achieved.
Women have historically faced unfavourable labour market and social outcomes compared to men. The crisis, somewhat unexpectedly, reduced some of the gender gaps given that the male-dominant sectors were hit worse by the crisis. However, fundamental disadvantages remain, with diminished career opportunities, lower pay and lower prospective pensions. Lifetime hours worked remain much lower than those of men, with few Member States succeeding in combining high female employment rates with a low gender gap in total hours worked. Overall, it remains to be seen whether the short-term improvements during the crisis will be sustained, or slip away with the recovery.
Undeclared work is seen as a divisive social and economic issue, but new survey data suggests that the incidence is little changed from pre-crisis levels. However there are major differences between Member States in terms of overall incidence, with the lack of regular employment and limited welfare support systems being seen as the main explanations in the regions that are most affected. In some countries, though, effective actions have been taken, not only to improve tax compliance, incentives, awareness and sanctions, but also to undertake reforms to regularise occasional and minor jobs.
Since the crisis, divergences between Member States have grown, especially within the euro area. The chapter shows how the seeds were sown in the early years of the euro, with accumulated debt fuelled by low interest rates, and divergences in productivity and human capital investment. Given the risk of continuing divergence, despite budgetary actions at national level, an enhanced surveillance of employment and social developments has been proposed by the Commission, together with an EMU-wide shock absorption function to complement existing policy coordination instruments in the longer term and after Treaty changes.
In the early phase of the crisis, social expenditures (unemployment benefits, but also others, notably pensions and health) played an important counter-cyclical role by stabilising household incomes in Europe. Since 2011 and more particularly in 2012, however, that stabilisation has weakened, in a more pronounced manner than during past recessions. The framework developed in this chapter also helps identify situations where the dynamics of different types of social expenditure may not be optimally balanced and investigates in particular whether national welfare systems were effective and efficient in addressing their key social and employment objectives in the crisis, highlighting sometimes major differences.
The ‘Beyond GDP’ debate has in recent years drawn attention to the need to complement measurement of GDP with indicators that encompass environmental and social aspects of progress. The limitations of GDP as a measure of key societal goals such as well-being and sustainable development are widely recognised, and alternative measurement concepts are being tested and increasingly used for policy making at regional, national and international level. Economic growth is a key component of well-being, via improvement in standards of living, but needs to be sustainable and ensure that the benefits are widely and fairly distributed across society i.e. it needs to be inclusive. To this end, this chapter has explored the kinds of measures that might be used to complement GDP in order to highlight the issue of inclusive growth.
Entrepreneurship development is an important requirement for achieving of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is also a means to respond to new economic challenges, to create jobs and to fight social and financial exclusion. The impact of the global financial and economic crisis calls for giving entrepreneurship and self-employment a stronger role in economic and social development policies. This book collects and synthesizes information and data on entrepreneurship activities in Europe, focusing on people that are at the greatest risk of social exclusion. These groups include young people, older people, women, ethnic minorities and migrants, people with disabilities and the unemployed.
To order this publication please contact OECD.
EaSI, the new pan-European programme for employment and social policy, will help the EU deliver more coherent policy, encourage job mobility and provide targeted microfinance to the more vulnerable. Merging PROGRESS, EURES and PROGRESS Microfinance into one umbrella programme, EaSI will help deliver new jobs and sustainable growth more efficiently by putting the emphasis on social innovation. Find out how in this brochure, which will be available in printed format in all EU official languages.
The Social Europe guide is a bi-annual publication aimed at providing an interested but not necessarily specialised audience with a concise overview of specific areas of EU policy in the field of employment, social affairs and inclusion. It illustrates the key issues and challenges, explains policy actions and instruments at EU level and provides examples of best practices from EU Member States. It also presents views on the subject from the Council Presidency and the European Parliament. This fifth volume in the series of Social Guides sets out how the new challenges facing EU countries call for a rethink of our approach to social policies. It outlines the functions of social policies and recent initiatives by the European Commission to support increased ‘social investment’ – benefits and services that improve people’s skills and capabilities and support people’s inclusion in society. This guide also sets out how the European Union’s social policy guidance is designed and delivered, and how the Commission is supporting Member States in making reforms to improve the adequacy and sustainability of their social policies. The guide will be available as an e-book and in printed format in English, French and German.
Information on pension provision remains inaccessible to many, despite their crucial role in providing a social safety net to people in old age. This Peer Review held in Madrid in July 2013 focused on good practices in Member States and supported the coordination of policies in this area. Representatives of the host country (Spain), six other Member States, the European Commission and stakeholder organisations attended the event. This report summarises the key issues discussed and the lessons learned. It is available in electronic format in English, French, German and Spanish.
The OECD and the European Commission have produced a new brief on evaluating policy actions for inclusive entrepreneurship. The brief covers the reasons for evaluating inclusive entrepreneurship policy, how evaluation fits into the policy cycle, and relevant tools to use in evaluation. The brief gives examples of real evaluations, showing how information was obtained and what conclusions could be drawn.
This brochure is available online in English, German and French.
ESCO – boosting job matching throughout Europe
European prosperity depends on a flourishing labour market which helps both working people and
employers make the most of training and skills. EU citizens have an EU-wide labour market open to them
and employers have a pool of people in 28 countries to choose from. However, matching the right worker
to the right job remains a challenge.
ESCO is a multilingual classification of occupations, skills, competences and qualifications, designed to
help jobseekers and employers to match skills to jobs. Learners, workers and businesses will all benefit.
ESCO will help everyone get more out of Europe’s labour market. This publication will be available in printed format in English, French and German.
This report provides an overview of the development of social protection policies in the EU between January 2012 and June 2013. Prepared by the Social Protection Committee (SPC) as part of its mandate to monitor the social situation in the EU, it reviews the intensity of Member States' efforts and maps out structural reforms. The main message of the report is that while the economic crisis continues to put pressure on social protection systems, EU priorities in this field must shift from tackling its consequences towards building resilient and effective social protection systems relying on solid structures, adequate benefits and sustainable financing. The report is available online in English only.
There are signs of fragile economic recovery, but economic growth is unlikely to be sustained unless it is inclusive and job rich, especially while labour market and social conditions remain extremely challenging and divergence between countries is growing, according to the September special edition of the EU Employment and Social Situation Review. This publication is available online in English only.
This report looks at the impact that public policy has had on personal and household services (PHS) around the EU. Specifically, it considers those tools that aim at encouraging formal employment and discourage undeclared work. For this analysis care services are excluded, whilst the public policy tools analysed can be grouped in four categories: reducing the price, simplification of procedures through vouchers, new regulation on employment and fostering the emergence of a supply side. By analysing national data, the impact in terms of job creation, the black market share and the cost efficiency and redistributive impact of policies is considered.
This publication is available in electronic format in English.