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Employment in Europe Report 2007
In view of the positive results on the labour market and European economic growth, 2007 was a favourable context for progress towards the Lisbon objectives.
Report from the European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities – Employment in Europe 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].
In 2006 the situation on the labour market improved throughout the European Union (EU). This trend was supported by the increase in economic growth which represented, on average, 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the EU. Most jobs created concerned women, workers aged 25-54 and employees in paid employment (90%). Employment rates were particularly high in Member States that joined on 1 May 2004.
The growth in employment and labour productivity led to progress in achieving the Lisbon Agenda objectives. However, reforms should still be made, particularly in order to reach the targets of 70% employment and 50% of older workers on the labour market. The target of 60% for female employment has almost been reached.
The low rate of employment for young people gives cause for concern. The transition between the completion of education and the first job is generally difficult. Young people are also very often trapped in low-paid and temporary jobs. Lifelong education and training contribute to reducing poverty and social exclusion. It is also necessary to facilitate the recruitment of young workers by enterprises.
Employment of older workers: active ageing strategies
The employment rate for people aged 55-64 has increased by 7% since 2000. However, the jobs that have been created are often precarious and part-time. Moreover, the participation of older workers on the European labour market remains low with respect to the strategy for the demographic future of Europe, as well as compared to international standards.
The measures adopted to foster active ageing aim in particular at the quality of healthcare, lifelong training, the flexibility of work organisation and the improvement of financial aspects of employment.
Flexicurity models in Europe
The flexicurity regimes applied by some Member States are based on different models. They favour either “external” flexibility, which involves human resources policies adapted to market constraints, or ‘internal’ flexibility characterised by work organisation which is adapted to workers’ needs. Two models are associated with these forms of flexibility:
- the “Anglo-Saxon” model based on external flexibility, job mobility and innovation. This model is also characterised by a high level of poverty and low public spending;
- the “Nordic” model essentially practices internal flexibility. It displays good economic results, greater satisfaction and occupational health, a low level of poverty and high public spending.
Continuing vocational training in enterprises
The Commission highlights the fact that government intervention is necessary to strengthen fair access and the effectiveness of continuing vocational training. In this regard, several points should be taken into account:
- the reduction of social exclusion and income inequality;
- active ageing, the employment of young people with a low level of education and the viability of social protection systems;
- flexicurity policies implemented through more dynamic labour markets and the transferable nature of workers’ skills;
- the development of knowledge in moving from mass production to production driven by quality and innovation.
The labour income share
The part of added value allocated to labour reached a historically low level in 2006. This trend is in particular the result of technological progress and globalisation. It may have a negative impact on social equity, economic efficiency and macro-economic stability. It is for this reason that developments towards a knowledge-based economy should be accompanied by employment and flexicurity policies that are particularly aimed at less qualified workers.