Massive increase in highly skilled EU movers
The European Commission’s recently published ‘Study on the movement of skilled labour’ shows a significant increase in the share of high skilled EU movers. The proportion of high skilled EU movers amongst the employed population in the EU almost tripled to a total of 3.6 million, between 2004 and 2016.
High and medium skilled movers together are three times as many as low skilled movers.
However, the report also notes ‘that skilled (or educated), in particularly highly skilled EU movers, account for a small part of the European labour market’. EU movers are not equally spread across Member States and regions and subsequently the benefits of EU movement have not been shared equally.
The study’s data indicates that when measured in terms of their actual share of the employed population, just over 1.6% of the total EU employed population are medium skilled EU movers; and just under 1.4% are high skilled EU movers. Low skilled EU movers make up only around 0.9% of employed individuals across EU labour markets.
EU movers are not equally spread across Member States and regions and subsequently the benefits of EU movement have not been shared equally.
Martin Jefflén, President of Eurocadres, the trade union organisation said, ‘We are pleased to see a strong growth of high skilled movers. High skilled and medium skilled movers now make up for three times the share of low skilled movers. The populist portrayals we often encounter in western and northern parts of the EU, that of the freedom of mobility mostly is resulting in large numbers of low skilled movers said to lower wages are wrong. High skilled movers alone make up for larger numbers than low skilled. At the same time, the overall labour mobility remains low.’
‘The labour mobility of highly qualified professionals and managers makes a vital contribution to Europe’s knowledge-based economy. Greater labour mobility leads to improved career opportunities and can offer greater professional and personal fulfilment.’
‘The labour mobility of highly qualified professionals and managers makes a vital contribution to Europe’s knowledge-based economy.
The report also mentions the challenges of recognition and validation of movers’ professional qualifications in finding jobs that match their qualifications. ‘Individuals proficient in the language of the host country are less likely to suffer from brain waste’, according to the study.
The Commission report recommends that, ‘In this respect the proposed European Labour Authority should play a prominent role in overseeing actions. Its remit is to:
- The EU facilitates access for individuals and employers to information on their rights and obligations as well as to relevant services;
- Supports cooperation between EU countries in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating joint inspections
- Mediates and facilitates solution in cases of cross-border disputes between national authorities or labour market disruptions.’
In terms of promoting real freedom of mobility for Europe’s professionals and managers, or in terms of supporting cooperation between EU countries, clearly more needs to be done.