Eurofound: unemployment strikes construction and manufacturing, but growing demand in healthcare

Eurofound has released its 2013 yearbook on living and working in Europe, summarising its findings in labour market studies between 2011 and 2013. Eurofound reports that in 2013, most job losses came from the manufacturing industry and financial services, while knowledge-based jobs and the retail sector account for a net job gain in 2013.

Eurofound also reports that offshoring of jobs to other countries is slowing down and no longer mostly benefits Asian economies – most offshoring activities shift labour from older to newer member states inside the EU. However, the nature of offshoring is changing: profiles requiring high qualifications can now be offshored without much loss in quality; therefore there is a risk in offshoring highly skilled jobs in the future.

Shifts in gender distribution of employed people

The shifts in industrial employment have an impact on the gender distribution of jobs and income. While more jobs have been lost in mostly male, middle- and low-income industries such as manufacturing and construction, more jobs have been created in high-wage and female industries such as health care. As a result, female employment has risen from 2011 to 2013, while male employment has declined – resulting in a narrowing of the gender gap

Job quality and wages

Eurofound also warns that while unemployment is the major concern for European labour markets at this time, the longer-term challenge is the spread of jobs along the wage spectrum, i.e. the decline in middle-income jobs towards the higher and lower end of the wage spectrum. This phenomenon started in 1998, but was intensified during the crisis. At the same time, there is a relative shift to quality jobs, with more high-wage and high-skilled jobs being created. There are however disparities between countries. For instance, there is polarisation in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Estonia or Ireland, while there is a downgrading of job quality in Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia or Romania. Upgrading of job quality happens in the UK, Austria, Denmark, Croatia, Hungary, Poland and Sweden, while Germany and Latvia experience growth in middle-income jobs. France and the Czech Republic face upgrading and polarisation at the same time.

At the same time, part-time employment increased. Gender differences are marked also in terms of working hours: while male employees work on average 40.6 hours per week, women work on average 33.9 hours At the same time, women spend more time in caring (26 hours per week) than men (9 hours per week)

You can see the full report here: Eurofound Yearbook 2013: Living and working in Europe (PDF)

For more information, please contact Philippe Seidel at the AGE Secretariat:

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