Employment and migration: worker mobility key to tackle EU demographic and skills challenges

The joint European Commission-OECD report on Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs shows that migration and mobility have a key role to play to address demographic decline and skills shortages in the EU.

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  “It may surprise people that we talk about matching economic migration with labour market needs at a time when many European countries face persistent unemployment and a growing backlash against migration. Yet Europe would already be in better shape with a more efficient use of migrants’ skills” asserted Stefano Scarpetta, Director for Employment Labour and Social Affairs of the OECD.

Indeed, even though many of the EU 28 Member States suffer from increasing unemployment rates and economic slowdown, the expected demographic decline as well as skills shortages might entail that migration and mobility play a key role in EU employment and labour policies and strategies.

Key figures illustrate the above mentioned statements:

  • The working-age population (15-64) of the 28 EU countries would be expected to decline by up to 11.7 million (-3.5%) by 2020.

  • According to Eurofound's 2013 European Company Survey, despite the slack in the labour market, 40% of EU companies have difficulties finding workers with the right set of skills.

At that stage, “The question is not whether we need migrants but how to make the most of migration” states Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström.

Against this background, the joint EU-OECD report outlines three complementary policy responses:

  • Fostering intra-EU labour mobility to ensure a better allocation of skills
  • Better integrating non-EU migrants to ensure a smarter use of their skills
  • Attracting the skilled migrants needed on the EU's labour market

To read more on this topic download the Joint EU-OECD Policy brief or read the full Joint EU-OECD Report “Matching economic migration with labour market needs”

The European Commission press release is accessible here

Publication Date: Thu 18 Sep 2014
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