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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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Projected labour market imbalances in Europe: Policy challenges in meeting the Europe 2020 employment targets

This chapter investigates the extent to which the economies of EU member states are likely to encounter aggregate skill imbalances by the year 2020, and assesses the necessity of appropriate policies (e.g. activation, migration) for addressing such imbalances. The baseline projections of Cedefop’s European skills forecasting model are used to examine the nature of anticipated discrepancies between the supply and demand for labour in EU member states. The chapter subsequently examines the implications for “sustainable” activity rates based on the counterfactual hypothesis that all EU countries will meet their headline EU 2020 employment targets. The results highlight that meeting the respective EU2020 employment targets is dependent on considerable activation efforts by several EU member states, which will have to outweigh existing policies. To meet employment targets with shrinking populations at natural rates of unemployment, European policy makers will have to rely on a menu of policy choices to increase activity rates by about 4.3 percentage points on average in the EU economy. This may entail the activation of a significant share of the currently inactive EU population, or a reliance on migration and other socio-demographic policies to ensure that the future supply of labour will be sufficient to meet skill needs.

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