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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Turning the corner

This year marks a turning point for the European labour market in many ways. Firstly, after many years of debate about the expected effects of population ageing on the European labour markets and welfare systems, in 2014 for the first time the working age population (15-64) of the European Union starts declining. Over the next twenty years, according to the most recent Europop projections, it will decrease by about 21.7 million persons, or 6.5% in the EU28. This will potentially generate a decline in the labour supply and potential economic growth, unless European countries manage to mobilise under-utilised labour resources as well as promote faster technological progress and productivity growth. But immigration will need to play a supporting role as well.

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