Recruitment and employment industry key to bringing EU's long-term unemployed into the workplace

Despite positive trends, unemployment in Europe remains stubbornly high, writes Denis Pennel.

By Denis Pennel

04 Apr 2016

Europe’s employment figures have shown an upward trend over the past year. However, there remain vulnerable groups where joblessness continues to be stubbornly high.

These include the under-25s, the longer-term unemployed, women returning to the workplace after a career break, migrants and older, less skilled workers.

If we are to drive up employment, we need to make labour markets as inclusive as possible. Bringing people into work is good news for everyone.


For workers, of course, it provides prospects and purpose; for businesses it makes them sustainable and more competitive; for society it boosts tax revenues and reduces costs associated with unemployment.

The employment and recruitment industry is a labour market enabler that delivers all of these benefits. It works with businesses to identify talent, supporting workers in securing jobs and working alongside governments and public employment services to drive labour market efficiency.

The industry enables work by creating employment that wouldn’t otherwise exist by helping its clients turn available work into jobs.

It provides access to the labour market and work experience for a wide range of people, including the disadvantaged such as first-time entrants and those returning to work. Many youngsters gain their first experience of the workplace via a recruitment agency, then use that agency to help them transition within the labour market.

Today’s volatile economic environment means that more than half of all jobs last less than 5 years, so we are all looking for positions more frequently.

The employment and recruitment industry facilitates these transitions, providing a stepping-stone function for individuals moving from unemployment to work, from part-time to full time positions and from declining sectors to areas of growth.
In addition, the sector also helps both companies and workers adapt to change. It provides workers with ongoing training, giving them the skills they need to do the jobs available and remain in employment. It also stays close to the workplace, identifying jobs and ensuring workers have a new position once their current assignment ends.

For companies, the sector provides integrated workforce solutions and innovative HR practices, freeing them to focus on their core business and increase competitiveness. By acting as a facilitator between work and workers, agencies increase flexibility and mobility by adapting the workforce to the needs of the production schedule.

As trusted labour market advisors, the industry’s other major contribution is in enabling security for all labour market actors. For workers looking to transition to a new job or for companies seeking to optimise their recruitment processes, the sector helps people and organisations navigate an increasingly complex world of work.

It enables worker security by providing decent employment and social protection; it improves worker security and reassures them that someone is managing their career. Businesses also benefit from legally secure workforce solutions that give them the confidence to seize opportunities and drive growth.

The industry also supports governments by working in partnership with public employment services and spotting future trends in the labour market.

The industry provides prosperity for our whole society – citizens, businesses and, of course, governments. For citizens, it provides work, boosting earning and spending power. For businesses, the recruitment and employment industry allows them to take on more staff with fewer risks, providing a solution to all their HR needs and contributing to business sustainability.

For governments, the sector reduces the black economy and undeclared work, while fostering social mobility by bringing people into the labour market and equipping them with the skills to stay there. The agency work industry in Europe employs 8.7 million people each year - –the full time equivalent to four million people every single day - that, incidentally, no longer need unemployment benefits, saving society millions of euros.

Crucially, of course, the industry delivers economic value. It turns over €133 billion every year and enriches GDP growth via its sales revenue and contributions to the public budget in the form of taxes and social charges.

By enabling work, adaptation, security and prosperity, the employment and recruitment industry is leading in a changing world of work.



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