Brussels, 26 November 2012
Employment: Commission improves EURES jobseeker mobility network – frequently asked questions
What is the purpose of the EURES reform?
The present economic situation calls for bold action at European and national level to stimulate intra-EU labour mobility in order to remedy labour shortages and bottleneck vacancies in high growth areas and persistent high unemployment in other regions. The EU's need for more labour mobility nationally and across borders is therefore urgent.
EURES has not yet made full use of its direct employment potential. The Commission therefore aims to focus EURES on matching, placement and recruitment, giving it the biggest possible outreach and coverage capacity, including rolling out its innovative self-services in all European languages and full inter-operability in the exchange of national job vacancies and CV data under a revamped portal.
The shift to demand-led service delivery will also involve the use of targeted mobility schemes that will focus, according to market needs, on specific target groups, sectors, occupations and countries.
Consequently, EURES will become a demand-driven and result-oriented recruitment tool satisfying the economic needs of Member States and thereby contributing to meeting the employment target of 75% of 20-64 year olds under Europe's 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
What will the Decision change?
The new Decision revises Commission Decision 2003/8/EC implementing the Regulation on freedom of movement of workers from within the Union, Regulation No (EU) 492/2011. It lays down the operational objectives of the network, reinforces its governance, and lays the basis for a new EURES service catalogue. To improve coordination at national level, Member States are due to designate national co-ordination offices responsible for the organisation of EURES. These coordination offices will supervise national efforts to develop a demand-led service delivery, ensure the accreditation of qualified labour market actors as EURES service providers and supervise the contributions of those actors to the portal and the network activities.
To reinforce the focus on matching, placement and recruitment based on economic needs, the Decision will create a programming and reporting cycle on such activities for all its members.
EURES will extend its scope to cover new target groups. The new operational objectives of the Decision are to encourage youth mobility and to exchange information on apprenticeships and traineeships. This will require the development of new activities and services at national level, with a stronger focus on aiding the young unemployed, within the framework of the above programming cycle.
The Decision invites Member States to reflect on the organisation of mobility management at national level and to diversify and increase the number of actors operating in the current EURES network. The network will be re-established on the basis of an accreditation system at national level which would inter alia better regulate the role of private employment services wishing to participate in the EURES network. The accreditation system aims to achieve the best possible geographical outreach and labour market coverage and optimal service, for instance by ensuring the adequate participation of employment services and labour market actors other than the public employment services. Public and private employment services will be called upon to systematically cooperate when delivering EURES and set up a real European job vacancy platform to better cover the vacancy markets for services (public employment services' share of vacancies is currently estimated about 30-40%).
The Decision will diversify and strengthen delivery of EURES services. The shift to demand-led service delivery will be stimulated with other measures directly managed by the Commission such as a revamped EURES portal, updated training and communication activities and a reinforced co-ordination of the EURES network.
How will the EURES portal be improved?
The EURES web portal exists to support the overall objectives of EURES and in particular to help the network to provide its services in an effective and efficient way. The aim of the improvements is to ensure that the EURES portal is the natural first choice for any European citizen interested in, or considering working in another European country.
In particular, the improved EURES portal will aim to support the need for a skilled, adaptable, and mobile European workforce in the coming years by providing the most relevant services possible towards its users – jobseekers, job-changers and employers – across Europe. In particular, the effective and speedy matching of skills with vacancies is a priority for achieving efficiency in the labour market.
To achieve this, the EURES portal will provide online recruitment tools which facilitate better matching of labour supply with demand, which create a bridge between work and education/training, and which offer the possibility for interacting virtually, in order to reduce the need for environment-unfriendly travel. In order to get the most out of these tools, they must be built in line with the latest state-of-the-art technology.
In particular, Web 3.0, also known as Semantic Web, will play an important role in the development of these tools. Semantic Web and Data Web solutions, together with the European Skills, Competences and Occupations (ESCO) taxonomy of occupations and skills, will help to enhance existing tools as well as develop new ones for the exchange and matching of vacancy and CV information. Personalisation and increased interactivity will make the information content of the portal considerably more user-friendly, attractive and useful for the users.
To implement the EURES objectives and strategies, the web portal will focus on five “target areas”: matching, learning, lobility, image building, and internal network cooperation.
For matching, existing portal features will be improved and new features will be added to maximise the quality of the match between jobseekers (based on their skills) and employers (based on their job vacancies). The EURES vacancy and CV formats will be revised, based on international standards and classifications, and will become the European de facto standards for interoperability – for public employment services as well as all other relevant organisations. The search engine itself will become more powerful through improved algorithms which will provide to users not only perfect matches but also close matches, based on the semantic affinities between terms. The results will be visually displayed on a map, with information on matching ratios and mismatch areas.
For learning, the portal will provide more information and guidance on how to acquire the right mix of skills, which will contribute to bridging the gap between supply and demand for skills on the European labour market, in a sustainable way.
For mobility, the EURES portal will provide relevant and updated information on all aspects of mobility in order to raise awareness of the benefits and opportunities mobility can bring to jobseekers, job changers and employers. In addition to traditional information in the forms of documents on labour market trends and living and working conditions, the portal will offer interactive access to a range of other information channels such as videos, webinars (seminars held via the World Wide Web) and social networking. Tools will be made available for users to share information within their communities of interest, such as forums and wikis. Moreover, in different places on the portal, data will be displayed visually on a map of Europe, in order to trigger awareness and interest of the users towards job mobility.
For image building, the EURES portal will contribute to an increased awareness among jobseekers and employers on the opportunities and solutions offered by EURES and the portal. Interaction of the EURES portal with social media platforms will be improved so that users can easily share and spread information provided by EURES through their networks. In particular, the objective will be to attract young people to the portal, even before they become active on the job market.
For internal network cooperation, the EURES portal will provide the members of the EURES network with the necessary tools to help them carry out their task in the most effective and efficient way. In order to improve internal communication, various social networking tools will be provided to the members, allowing them to keep in touch with each other and to share their experiences and thoughts, even though they may be physically located far from each other. Tools for organising virtual events and web meetings will also be made available.
In the coming years, the EURES portal will undergo transformation within these five target areas in order to become the most established and reliable source of information and advice about job mobility across the EU.