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Brussels, 26 November 2012
Employment: how the EURES jobseeker mobility network works
What is EURES and what does it do?
EURES (the European jobseeker mobility network) is a cooperation network between the European Commission and the public employment services of the European Economic Area (EEA) Member States (the EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and other partner organisations. Switzerland also takes part in EURES cooperation.
The EURES network, set up in 1993, is responsible for exchanging information and enabling cooperation among its stakeholders in order to help make freed movement of workers a reality. EURES promotes mobility of workers and reduces barriers to mobility by contributing to the development of a European labour market that is open and accessible for all, ensuring exchange of vacancies and job applications and transparency on labour market information.
The operational objectives of EURES are to inform, guide and provide advice to potentially mobile workers on job opportunities as well as living and working conditions in the EEA, to assist employers wishing to recruit workers from other countries and to provide advice and guidance to workers and employers in cross- border regions.
The services of EURES consist of information, advice and assistance for placement and recruitment. This may include data bases on job vacancies, job search, living and working conditions as well as personalised services. The latter are provided in particular by the 850 EURES advisers who have received specialised training and who deliver information and advice about all issues related to free movement of workers to job seekers, job changers and employers. These services are provided free of chart to all persons benefiting from the freedom of movement in accordance with EU law.
The EURES job mobility web portal currently provides access to over 1.3 million job vacancies and receives 4 million visits every month. The portal currently contains 900,000 CVs and 29,000 employers are registered. There are hundreds of events taking place all over Europe that can be consulted in the EURES Events Calendar. The portal includes job postings from public employment services.
No other job portal that has such a wide coverage. It is estimated that EURES hosts about 30 - 40% of all vacancies on the European job vacancy market. EURES is focused on labour mobility and allows jobseekers in a given country to find suitable vacancies in other countries. No other tools give such wide access to opportunities in other European countries .
Mobility in Europe: facts and figures
Free movement of people is one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by EU law. According to a Qualitative Eurobarometer study conducted in 2010, it is the right EU citizens cherish the most; they consider it virtually synonymous with their status as EU citizens. It is enshrined in Articles 45 and 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Treaty itself and the Charter of Fundamental Rights confer directly to EU citizens the right to move and reside freely within the Union, together with a right to equal treatment, as part of their status as citizens of the Union.
According to the EU Labour Force survey (EU-LFS), in the second quarter of 2012 there were around 7.6 million EU citizens economically active in another EU country, representing 3.1% of the EU labour force. This represents a substantial increase compared to 2005 (around 4.8 million in 2005, or 2.1% of the EU labour force) driven notably by the 2004 and 2007 enlargements. However, the economic crisis has led to a decrease in mobility flows between EU countries – in 2009-11, intra-EU mobility flows dropped by one third, compared to the 2006-08 period.
Moreover, those aggregate estimates do not include all EU mobile citizens because the EU-LFS covers mainly people who are 'usually resident' in a country and not for instance, the most recent movers or the short-term mobile workers (e.g.: staying only a few months). According to the 2009 Eurobarometer on geographical and labour mobility, around 10 % of EU citizens declared that they had already worked and lived in another country at some time, with 51 % of them having worked for less than two years, and 38 % for less than one year. According to the 2011 Eurobarometer on the Single Market, 28% of the EU working-age citizens would consider working in another EU country in the future. Moreover, this share is particularly high (54%) among the young people (15-24) and among those aged 25-39 (38%).
International comparisons (e.g. OECD Economic Survey of the EU 2012) indicate that cross border mobility between EU Member States is limited compared to other regions (such as United States, Canada, Australia). Although this can be partly explained by the very wide linguistic diversity and various institutional frameworks, these comparisons still suggest that more scope exists for higher geographical mobility in the EU. Moreover, the massive gaps currently existing between EU countries and regions in terms of unemployment rates and job vacancy rates are another sign that the potential of geographical labour mobility is insufficiently tapped (see staff working document on Labour Market Trends and Challenges SWD(2012) 90 final, accompanying the April 2012 Employment Package). Current levels of mobility are still relatively low compared to the EU potential and not commensurate to what could be expected within a genuine single EU labour market.
Why does the Commission encourage intra-EU labour mobility?
Limited geographic mobility was been identified in the 2012 Annual Growth Survey (see IP/11/1381) as one of the reasons for the structural mismatch between supply and demand for labour, hence hindering recovery and long-term growth.
In the current situation of high unemployment and strong divergence across Member States, labour mobility can play an important role. Significant numbers of unfilled vacancies in high growth areas coexist today with high unemployment in other parts of the EU. Labour mobility could alleviate the pressure of employment in countries affected by the recession while responding to the needs of the labour market where there is a high level of labour demand.
Labour mobility and in particular intra-EU labour mobility can be a powerful adjustment mechanism to address imbalances, whilst restoring dynamism, reducing frictions and alleviating social suffering. Mobility can also help to kick-start recruitment drives and service the needs of numerous employers by providing them with the skilled workforce they seek. Workers for their part can gain from a positive transition into employment.
Many studies have showed in the past the overall positive impact of mobility for both workers and firms. For instance, post-enlargement mobility is estimated to have increased the GDP of EU-15 countries by around 1% in the 2004 to 2009 period.
Moreover geographical labour mobility can contribute to better matching between the labour force and the skills needed by the labour market. Since significant numbers of unfilled vacancies in high growth areas coexist with high unemployment in other parts of the EU, it is considered that labour mobility could alleviate the pressure of unemployment in countries affected by the recession while responding to the needs of labour markets where there is high level of labour demand. According to Eurostat, while unemployment rates in September 2012 were around 5% in Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany, they were close to 15-16% in Portugal and Ireland and higher than 25% in Spain and Greece.
How does the EURES portal help jobseekers and employers?
The EURES web portal is a real one-stop shop for information on job mobility in Europe. It provides a range of other useful tools helping people make informed choices on the opportunities available.
In addition to the EURES portal a new site on online job fairs for intra-EU mobility has been opened on http://europeanjobdays.eu. Exactly like the European Job Day events organised by the EURES network – only virtual. The site acts as an online space where jobseekers, employers and EURES Advisers can meet, chat, and arrange appointments. Employers can present their companies and job offers, jobseekers can view job opportunities, and EURES Advisers can provide expert advice.
How does the Commission support EURES?
Besides the operation of the EURES portal and other IT services needed for the exchange of vacancies, CVs and other information, the European Commission ensures the overall co-ordination of the EURES network and assists it in carrying out its activities, in particular by providing horizontal support in terms of:
Information and communication activities should as a principle be carried out by the EURES member organisations themselves in order to 'go local', so that messages and activities are well adapted to the needs on the national or regional level. The Commission provides a 'strategic umbrella' for the communication activities of the network, consisting of the following main parts:
The EURES training programme offers a wide range of training courses from the compulsory initial training of all new EURES advisers to advanced trainings on various topics such as communication, project management etc. The training delivered at EU level to ensure that the network is professional and operates efficiently and effectively is complementary with in-country training.
The horizontal support plays an important role when it comes to further strengthening an already well-functioning network of dedicated professionals, essential for the delivery of high quality services from EURES.
EURES Success Stories
Every day the EURES-network helps many jobseekers and employers to find a job and qualified employees. Below is a selection of some of the success stories from 2012.
Enterprising Greek couple find new beginning in Norway
A young Greek couple have taken their first step on the road to living and working permanently in Norway with the help of EURES Advisers in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway.
"Without EURES, I wouldn't be here!"
Globetrotting Wouter van Druten from the Netherlands was looking to broaden his horizons when he came across an advert that would take his career in a new and unexpected direction: Bulgaria.
Italian jobseeker landed a job in Germany after consulting EURES
After two years of struggling with unemployment and short-term contracts, an Italian jobseeker contacted her local EURES Adviser for advice. Just two weeks later, she got a job and has now launched a career as a baker in Germany. “I’d searched for jobs all over Italy without any success, so one day I decided to make an appointment with the EURES Adviser in my region. She was very kind to me and explained how EURES works. I went back home and sent 161 CVs to employers in Germany………..
Swedish jobseekers take advantage of hotel opening in Norway
The opening of a new hotel in Trondheim, Norway has created a number of job opportunities for Swedes ready to make the most of European mobility. EURES helped many of them to realise their ambitions. “The employer was really satisfied with EURES services and we expect to continue the cooperation,” says Leif.
Irish plumbers in demand in Norway
Thanks to EURES, a number of out-of-work Irish plumbers have been able to find rewarding and interesting jobs in Norway. Working closely with a Norwegian firm, since December 2011 some 30 Irish plumbers have found full-time work in the country. “Both Bravo Bemanning AS and our customers are very satisfied with the services provided by EURES,” said Nina
Jobseeker gets job on the spot in Luxembourg
Ever realised you had just been in the right place at the right time? A visit to a European Job Days (EJD) event in Mondorf les Bains, Luxembourg – really paid off for jobseeker Fernandes Miguel, who was offered a position at Adecco – on the spot. “EURES plays a very important role for the labour market in Luxembourg. Since we encourage European mobility and have a very open labour market, there’s a need for actors such as EURES to help jobseekers and employers to take advantage of cross-border mobility,” says Dr Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg’s Minister of Labour, Employment and Immigration.
"The support I received from EURES was fantastic"
When British graduate, Karina Stephenson, got her first job in Spain through the Public Employment Service in the UK and urgently needed advice on living and working conditions, she was advised to turn to EURES for help. “The support I received from EURES was fantastic. I was struggling to find a place to live in Madrid and was really worried about it before coming out here. But thanks to their help I found somewhere really quickly".
From the Czech Republic to Norway
Lenka Lorencova, from the Czech Republic, dreamt of a European adventure and, with the help of EURES, found a stimulating and rewarding position in Norway. “I met Lenka at the job fair in Trondheim and saw that she had experience in the automotive industry and a strong career background. 60 % of our turnover comes from exports, so I immediately saw the opportunity to make excellent use of her skills,” says Kjell.
Social partners bring expertise to the EURES network
Understanding your rights as a mobile worker in Europe is not always easy. That is why the EURES network of public employment services also includes trade unions and business organisations, in order to bring further expertise to the EURES network.
European Job Day - Brussels
Every year thousands of jobseekers line up for one of the biggest job fairs in Europe, the European Job Day (EJD) in Brussels. This year saw more people than ever taking part in the event. However, one thing was notably different: the queues were substantially shorter. Why? Because, for the first time, jobseekers could also take part in the event online.
Cross-border job fair attracts thousands
Local roads were jammed with jobseekers as more than 6 000 people visited a job fair in Saarbrücken in south-west Germany on 10 May. About 100 employers from Germany, Luxemburg and France were present to welcome jobseekers to the event. EURES helped organise proceedings and advisers were on hand to provide information about living and working conditions in this cross-border region.