The Employment and Social Developments in Europe review 2018

The Employment and Social Developments in Europe review 2018

The European Commission has published its yearly Employment and Social Developments in Europe review, highlighting positive trends among the labour market and challenges in automation and digitalisation.

In this year’s edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe review (ESDE) it reveals ongoing positive labour market trends, as well as an improvement over the social element.

How was the overall rate of employment in 2017?

As reported on the Commission’s website, in 2017 there were over three and a half million more people in employment compared with 2016. Alongside this, it was found in the report that disposable incomes saw an increase, while the level of poverty decreased.

Severe material deprivation is currently at an all-time low, with 16.1 million fewer people affected compared with 2012.

How uncertain is the future of automation and digitalisation?

When looking into the impact of technological developments, the report reveals uncertainties about the future effects of automation and digitisation.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen said: “The European economy is growing faster and more evenly than before. This favours employment, props up household incomes, and improves social conditions. Technological change has a high potential to boost growth and jobs, but only if we shape this change.

The European Pillar of Social Rights provides a compass for getting everyone ready for this transformation.

“Our proposals turn the pillar into practice by equipping people in Europe with better education and skills throughout their life and by ensuring that all workers are covered by basic rights in this fast-changing world of work, with our proposals on transparent and predictable working conditions and access to social protection.”

What is the aim of this year’s Employment and Social Developments in Europe review?

The aim of this year’s edition of the report is to analyse opportunities and risks linked to:

  • Technological innovation
  • Demographic change and
  • Globalisation.

The review shows what needs to happen so that everybody can benefit from these developments. Technological progress is key to increasing overall productivity.

What can be done to improve the labour market?

It is also replacing low-skill routine tasks and raising the skill threshold of employability: while there is no definite conclusion regarding the possible extent of technology’s impact on jobs, studies show that repetitive routine tasks involved in current jobs are the most prone to full or partial automation; according to a study 37-69% of jobs could be partly automated in the near future.

Better education and life-long learning as well as ensuring that our labour market and social protection institutions are fit for purpose are key to adapt to this changing world of work.

With the Skills Agenda for Europe and EU funding, the Commission has prepared the ground to equip people in Europe with better skills at all levels, and in close co-operation with Member States, training providers and companies.

Also, social partners have an important role in the up-skilling and re-skilling of the labour force and in managing the increased flexibility in the changing world of work. They contribute to the design of training programmes and identify opportunities and downsides of the rapid changes affecting labour markets.

The Commission is addressing the situation of deterioration of working conditions and insufficient access to social protection with proposals to modernise labour market legislation and social protection systems to respond to the new world of work. With the proposal for a directive on more transparent and predictable working conditions, new minimum standards are included for all workers, also those in non-standard forms of employment.

With the proposal for a recommendation on access to social protection, the Commission encourages Member States to provide access to social security coverage to all employees and the self-employed, including transferability of rights between jobs and employment statuses.

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