Convergence: Employment

07 December 2018

Socioeconomic convergence is at the root of the European project and the need for addressing and monitoring social convergence, alongside the economic one, has gained particular emphasis in the European policy agenda.

Main findings

Eurofound research finds that there has been upward convergence of Member States in most employment indicators for the past two decades. The analysis of regional convergence and convergence in respect of different sociodemographic groups within the population, however, shows less positive developments.


Featured indicator: employment rate (labour market participation dimension)

The employment rate the share of people in employment in the total population aged 20–64 in the EU – shows upward convergence in 2000–2017. The employment rate increased from an average of 66.9% to 72.5% in the EU in this period, and the variability among Member Stats decreased, however, this pattern was not consistent over the whole period. Upward convergence was interrupted by the economic crisis, changing to downward divergence between 2008 and 2013, with a falling employment rate and increasing variability across Member States.

Dimensions and indicators

Eurofound’s analysis of the employment area of convergence on focused on three dimensions:

Labour market participation

This dimension includes two key indicators to monitor developments in labour market participation: the employment rate (2002–2016) and the activity rate (2002–2016). Both are included in the Social Scoreboard that accompanies the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Labour market exclusion

This dimension includes three indicators measuring exclusion from the labour market: the unemployment rate, the long-term unemployment rate and the NEET rate, all for the period 2002–2016. All are included in the Social Scoreboard.

Labour market dynamics

This dimension explicitly focuses on aspects related to labour market dynamics, namely: labour transitions from temporary to permanent contracts, involuntary part-time employment, and involuntary temporary work.

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