Well-functioning and inclusive labour markets

Well-functioning labour markets are a prerequisite for making full use of the job creation potential of the economy as it emerges from the financial and economic crisis. The labour market consequences of the economic crisis had a very different impact on the Member States and some groups such as the young and those with low education were particularly hard hit. The rapid ongoing structural change also presents new challenges as regards possible labour shortages and skills mismatches in various sectors and regions

Europe’s main tool for promoting employment and social inclusion is the European Social Fund – helping people get a job, integrating disadvantaged people into society and ensuring fairer life opportunities for all. There is also wide ranging European legislation that regulates the rights of workers on the labour market. In 2017, the European Commission will launch the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Pillar will build on, and complement, EU social and employment policy in order to guide policies in a number of fields essential for well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems.

Eurofound's work

Eurofound has produced a large body of work in this area, exploring the employment and social challenges faced by young people. Recent studies have examined issues around social inclusion and the need to take account of the diversity of vulnerable young people when developing policies to support them. It has also looked at youth entrepreneurship and the types of measures that have been effective in supporting it.

Another research strand has highlighted the economic and social costs of the gender employment gap and assessed the effectiveness of policy measures promoting the labour market participation of women. Eurofound has also examined new forms of employment that differ from traditional employment. The initial report describes nine new forms of employment that have emerged since 2000, while the latest report looks at one specific type: strategic employee sharing.

Research on mobility has provided an up-to-date picture on the movement of labour within Europe and the effect on migration of the economic crisis.

Eurofound has also conducted in-depth analyses of various issues related to labour market transitions, including job tenure, temporary employment and transitions of young people from education into employment.

Ongoing work

Eurofound is currently conducting studies on the following themes related to the functioning of labour markets:

  • labour market segmentation, where the labour market is divided between workers who benefit from secure, relatively well-paid employment and good prospects and those who do not;
  • measures in place in Member States to assist older employees who are made redundant to find a new job;
  • the concept of a ‘living wage’ in Europe and how it is calculated in different countries and regions.