Guide to employment policies
© Geo Martinez, Fotolia
Globalisation and the financial crisis are taking their toll on employment in Europe. To help rectify the situation, the EPSCO (Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council) on 21 October adopted a decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the member states.
The guidelines form part of a package of measures designed to drive the economy forward under the Europe 2020 programme, which is the new ten-year strategy for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. To curb structural unemployment and fight poverty and social exclusion, the EU will focus in particular on increasing labour force participation, eliminating job obstacles and promoting education and training. Gender equality is highlighted in all guidelines.
Integration of young people and women, older and low-skilled workers as well as legal migrants in the labour market will receive special attention. Professional and geographical mobility must be developed, and barriers to self-employment, entrepreneurship and entry into the labour market removed. To facilitate the employment of women, the work-life balance should be improved through affordable care and a flexible organisation of work.
Educational attainment must be improved by reducing school drop-out rates and increasing the numbers of higher education graduates by giving access to non-traditional learners. Schooling methods, from early childhood education to adult learning, must be improved in order to overcome job mismatches and ensure the upskilling of the workforce, with the latter acquiring the qualifications and competences required in a rapidly changing labour market.
Finally, social inclusion and combating poverty should be promoted to allow everyone to participate in society and the economy. Citizens must have access to high-quality, affordable and financially sustainable social and public services. Social security systems should cater in particular for the groups most at risk from social exclusion, such as one-parent families, minorities, disabled persons and the homeless.