Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs

image of Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs

This publication gathers the papers presented at the “OECD-EU dialogue on mobility and international migration: matching economic migration with labour market needs” (Brussels, 24-25 February 2014), a conference jointly organised by the European Commission and the OECD. It provides new evidence on the role that international migration has played in Europe and in selected other OECD countries over the past decade in terms of labour force; educational attainment; and occupational changes. It analyses the availability and use of migrants’ skills based on an in-depth literature review as well as new data analyses for Europe and the United States, Canada and the OECD as a whole, taking advantage of the International Survey of Adult Skills – PIAAC. Finally, several chapters discuss the potential role of international migration in meeting current and future labour market needs in Europe, in the United States and in the European Union. This work shows that although migration can make an important contribution to labour force growth, its role in counterbalancing the effects of population ageing will depend on the capacity of countries to match labour needs to migrants’ characteristics.

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Current and future skills of the workforce

The demography of educational attainment and the role of migration

This chapter examines the demographic and education structure of the labour force in OECD countries since 2000 and its evolution over the next decade, paying special attention to the role of international migration. It shows the increase in educational attainment of both native- and foreign-born individuals in the labour force and estimates a continuing increase in the near future, although at lower rates than in the past. In parallel, it projects a shrinking of the share of the lower-educated labour force, with migrants nonetheless accounting for a large share of entries. The chapter projects that the labour force will grow on average 4% in the OECD over the period 2010-20, much less than in the previous decade. It points as well that projected migration inflows will account for all this observed positive labour force growth, even if those inflows will be significantly lower than in the previous decade. The chapter shows how migration will continue to make a positive contribution to labour force growth over the decade even under more limited migration scenarios.

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