ESDE2015 conference: A review of employment and social developments in Europe in 2015
At a conference in Brussels on 21 January, the European Commission published its review of Employment and social developments in Europe 2015, which draws on a range of Eurofound studies. As the labour market in the EU is slowly recovering, the ESDE report finds that raising employment levels and living standards across Europe will rely on effective support policies and macroeconomic strategies.
Opening the event, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, emphasised that investing in people is key to economic growth in the EU. She commented: ‘We need to ensure that there are more and better opportunities for people in the EU, especially those furthest away from the labour market.’ Head of Working Conditions and Industrial Relations Unit at Eurofound, David Foden, joined the panel for the discussion on social dialogue. One focus of the review is to look at the best actions to prevent unemployment turning into long-term unemployment and inactivity.
Key findings on long-term unemployment and job creation
- Long-term unemployment affects about 12.4 million people in the EU, who only have half the chance of finding a job compared to short-term unemployed.
- Young people aged 20–29, the low-skilled and workers from outside the EU are the groups most affected by long-term unemployment. The youngest workers aged 20–24 were also hardest hit by long-term unemployment both before and during the crisis.
- Low education levels are more of a barrier to entering employment for younger than for older long-term unemployed.
- Registering with the national public employment service (PES) and participating in training increases the chances of moving into a sustainable job. Young people aged 25–29 are more likely to participate in training but less likely to be registered with the PES.
- Self-employment among young people is currently very low. The lack of entrepreneurship education from a young age in schools, universities and vocational education and training remains a significant obstacle to stimulating self-employment and entrepreneurship in the EU.
- Young entrepreneurs often see themselves as a major source of technology-driven innovation but may lack the experience to start their own business.
- Young people are among those who face stronger barriers to starting and expanding their own business. More tailored policies can help which include easier access to financing or fiscal incentives and entrepreneurship education.
New Eurofound research on youth issues
Despite signs of improvement, youth unemployment rates remain high in some Member States while long-term youth unemployment is still rising. Long-term exclusion of young people from the labour market thus remains of particular concern due to the risk of disengagement and social exclusion.
Following on from previous research on youth entrepreneurship and labour market transitions of youth, Eurofound has investigated the availability of start-up support for young people with a report coming soon.
In addition, a project on exploring the diversity of NEETs , carried out in 2015, is near completion with the report due in early 2016. It examined how to improve the NEET indicator by dividing it into sub-indicators that better address the heterogeneity of youth and carried out cross-country comparisons on this basis.
Building on this NEETs project, in 2016 Eurofound will look into the characteristics of long-term unemployed youth. The analysis will examine the immediate and long-term consequences and costs of being long-term unemployed at a young age. It will also investigate the effectiveness of targeted policy measures to re-integrate long-term unemployed youth into employment.
See also the Council Recommendation on long-term unemployment adopted by the Council on 7 December 2015.