11.11.2008

The European Employment Strategy has paid off

The European Employment Strategy has paid off, in terms of creating both more
and better jobs, according to the new European Restructuring Monitors annual
report 2008 from the European Foundation of the Improvement of Living and
Working Conditions (Eurofound), the Dublin-based EU agency. The report, which
examines patterns of employment expansion in Europe between 1995-2006,
concludes that women workers in particular have benefited from this period of
stronger European employment growth.

Most Member States of the European Union have generated both more and better
jobs in the decade after 1995, especially in the EU15 area. The proportion of
working age population in active employment has risen from 60% to 66% in the
EU15, with total employment growing by more than 22 million jobs. But what
about the quality of all these jobs created from 1995 to 2006: were they mostly
good or bad jobs? The aim of this ERM 2008 Report, entitled More and better
jobs: patterns of employment expansion in Europe, is to provide an evaluation
of the quality of the jobs created for the different European countries, and to
provide comment and analysis at various levels, eg. country, sector, by gender,
and employment status.

The overall picture is very positive, good news indeed for the achievement of
the overall objectives of the Lisbon Agenda. More and better jobs, and more
opportunities for women, are created in Europe, representing a shift towards
the knowledge economy, says Jorma Karppinen, Eurofounds Director. But the same
progress has led to increasing difficulties for low-skilled workers or workers
displaced in declining industries. Policymakers have to be wary about
stagnating employment growth in low-paid jobs. This can mean fewer employment
opportunities for low-skilled workers at a time when the decline of new
medium-quality jobs creates an obstacle to upward mobility in the employment
structure.

The best performers in terms of job quantity and quality were Ireland, Denmark,
Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden, according to the report. Most of the jobs were
located in knowledge-intensive services, especially in the business services
sector and the health and education sectors. In comparison, the report points
out that other countries like Spain, Greece and Italy also experienced a large
expansion in employment, but this expansion was flatter in terms of quality and
less concentrated in higher quality jobs. The Netherlands, France and Cyprus
showed intense job creation at the top and at the bottom with a big gap in the
middle.

The employment situation of women, especially in the former EU15 countries, has
improved both quantitatively and qualitatively. The majority of net new jobs in
the EU over the last decade have been taken by women and most of these jobs
have been of high or medium-high quality.

The report also concludes that low-paid jobs have become more atypical in the
EU since 1995. In many countries, most employment created in low-paid jobs was
part-time or fixed-term, whereas full-time permanent jobs in the low-paid
segment were either destroyed or remained stagnant. Migrant workers from
outside the EU tended to occupy the lowest-paid jobs. In Spain, Cyprus, Ireland
and Greece, for example, the report points to the finding that most of the net
jobs created in the two bottom job quality quintiles in these countries were
taken up by non-EU nationals.

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AplusA-online.de - Source: European Foundation of the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions