Job creation

21 February 2020

Against the background of recent high unemployment rates in many EU Member States, a key priority for EU social and employment policy is to stimulate investment and create jobs. 

The European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe adopted in November 2014 focuses on creating jobs and boosting growth by making smarter use of financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

Research shows that the strongest recent structural employment growth was recorded in the health and care sectors and in information and communication technologies. Both sectors have strong potential for continued job creation, along with green jobs, as highlighted in the Commission’s 2012 ‘Employment package’. 

The Commission has recognised the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to economic development and labour markets in the EU, and it supports SMEs through a variety of policies and instruments. In 2016, the European Parliament issued a resolution on how best to support the job creation potential of SMEs.

Eurofound’s work

Tools for continuous monitoring of labour market developments and of restructuring in the Member States have been developed in the framework of Eurofound’s European Monitoring Centre on Change (EMCC). The EMCC is the point of access for all information on changing labour markets, restructuring and job creation. The investigation of factors supporting or inhibiting job creation also requires access to company-level information. Eurofound has conducted three waves of its European Company Survey (ECS) since 2003, providing comparative evidence on company practices and their link to innovation and job creation.

Key contributions

Eurofound’s European Jobs Monitor (EJM) looks in detail at recent shifts in employment at Member State and aggregate EU levels, covering cases of job creation and job loss by occupation and sector. The 2017 report on occupational change and wage inequality shows that in 2016 employment in the EU finally returned to the same level as before the global financial crisis.

The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) has recently explored the case of SMEs, meaning companies with fewer than 250 employees, as a source of job creation. It found that SMEs are likely to have contributed to improved employment levels and increasingly gain attention as a source of job creation in Europe. However, due to the large scale of the SME population, there is considerable heterogeneity among them, and not all are equally dynamic job creators.

‘Born global’ enterprises – young companies with an international mindset – are also dynamic in job creation, despite their low share among enterprises. Eurofound research has looked at the potential of job creation in these new international businesses. It characterises born globals and outline their main strengths and weaknesses, as well as economic and labour market potential. 

A study on the creation of more and better jobs in home-care services highlights the persistent labour shortages in the health and social care sector. It analyses initiatives that were successful in either creating more jobs in the sector, or improving the quality of its jobs, with the dual aim of attracting new recruits and retaining existing staff.

    Data and resources

    Ongoing work

    In 2018–2019, the EJM will explore the regional dimension of changes in the employment structure. Research will look at the extent to which better quality, higher-paid employment is increasingly concentrated in larger metropolitan areas, whether this is primarily a driver of employment upgrading or employment polarisation and how differentiated patterns of regional employment growth are across EU Member States.

    Current research will focus on:

    • how workplace practices and company characteristics are associated with the development of employment levels in companies.


    Highlights (15)

    All (177)

    Publications (106)

    Articles (42)

    News (20)

    Events (9)