A Decision to modernise and improve EURES, the pan-EU job search network, has been adopted by the European Commission. The Decision will help to increase mobility of workers across Member States and pave the way for a true European labour market. The EURES reform aims to make it easier for jobseekers to contact employers looking for particular skills, to focus on sectors and occupations with skills shortages and to support targeted mobility schemes for young people.
Despite high levels of unemployment (over 25 million people in the EU) there are still labour shortages and vacancy bottlenecks. Indeed, the number of unfilled vacancies has been on the rise since mid-2009, particularly in high growth areas such as information and communications technologies and the green economy.
EURES is an existing job search network of 31 European employment services in the EU Member States, EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. The new Commission Decision will help EURES to respond directly to specific economic needs. As a result, EURES will proactively match jobseekers and job-changers to current job vacancies. It will also give employers better access to a pool of candidates where they can find the skills they need to develop and grow their businesses.
The reform will focus EURES more on young people, who have a higher propensity to be mobile, and cover forms of employment that combine work and learning opportunities, such as apprenticeships. Lastly, the EURES web portal will be revamped to create user-friendly online matching tools and access to skills-based labour market intelligence. The reform will extend the number of partners offering mobility services through EURES and will put in place co-operation between public and private job search organisations in order to cover an even higher percentage of available vacancies - currently it covers between 30-40% of the total vacancies available.
The Decision is due to be implemented by the Commission and Member States by 1 January 2014. By then, all participating countries will have to designate specialist services to organise the reform, work with new partners and develop the necessary targeted services.