Employment –the EU advantages and challenges

European Workers

With the merging of a European Union, it created the amazing opportunity of a single market for currency, free movement and creating a non-boarder job market. This provided the EU with amazing advantages as well as significant challenges due to one country’s fate could affect them all.    

The European Union unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2008. However, this is only telling a limited story for the whole Union and doesn’t highlight the disproportionate employment rates between Countries / Country regions e.g. Northern to mid European unemployment rates have been decreasing while mid to Southern Europe are increasing.  

The dilemma comes from multiple areas:

  • Within the European Union there are shortages and surpluses of skilled labour
  • Some countries are over educating students and have no jobs to place them into
  • Educated people are choosing not to do jobs they feel are lower than their education
  • Youth unemployment is on the rise in high unemployment countries
  • Not all Europeans are looking outside of their home countries for job opportunities
  • pre 2018, cross European jobs have not been so visible
  • The Elephant in the room – Brexit. Desirable high EU employment countries and resources deciding to leave the European Union (Brexit)

EU study, “Mapping and Analysing Bottleneck Vacancies on the EU Labour Market” recommends better targeted EU mobility aimed at specific specialisations and occupations where there is demand, as well as better matching of skills in EU recruitment.

The output from the study has been treated differently for each individual Country. The main recognisable output has been for Countries to identify skill shortages and plan on how to reverse the gaps.

In 2018, the European Commission created Eures (The European Mobility Portal). This is a great step forward to help create visibility of opportunities at a European level, offering open EU job visibility, mobilisation advise and individual support services. The site will evolve over time and will ensure that there is central EU coordination to support the unemployed find jobs and support mobilisation.

However, with every solution there is always challenges:

  1. Peoples willingness to migrate
  2. Countries loss in population from migration
  3. Countries economic gains & losses  
  4. Unrest within the Union from some of the population feeling pushed into migration
  5. Unrest within a country, frustrated that they don’t have local jobs for all
  6. Brain drain out of a country
  7. Putting together a plan to support mobilisation has been a little slow (Union started to form in 1993 and only in the last few years there has been a focus to support)

There is no easy fix here, however being able to identify where a Country is lacking in job talent,  awareness of where people are needed to be migrated in to do jobs, investing in education and nurturing specific talent to be able to support the jobs provides the Union with great opportunities (working together, understanding the future of work requirements, reducing unemployment and hopefully increasing the economic outcome for the entire EU). 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” (Helen Keller)

*Reference – Eurostat link

Author – Scott Wilson