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New EU Employment Package focuses on the right labour market challenges to be tackled but lacks recognition of the essential role to be played by private employment services


19 Apr 2012


Social Europe & Jobs

Job creation, better and faster matching of supply with demand, reduction of undeclared work and managing transitions are key contributions of the industry to EU 2020 Strategy 

Brussels, 19 April 2012: Eurociett believes the EU Employment Package takes some bold steps in progressing on much needed labour market reforms in order to avoid a jobless recovery.   However it does not go far enough in recognising the essential role private employment services  have to play in reaching the EU2020 strategy targets.

The package recognises that open, dynamic and inclusive labour markets are an essential prerequisite to job creation, and explicitly references the role of flexicurity and the need to make transitions pay.   It is notable that countries which have reformed their labour market based on the flexicurity principles such as the Netherlands, Germany and the Nordics have seen less unemployment and recovered more swiftly following the economic crisis, while countries with rigid, often two-tier employment systems like Spain and Greece are still undergoing hardship. 

With its focus on tools that will support job creation and recommendations for better matching supply with demand, fighting against undeclared work and promoting public-private partnership, the  new Employment package  draws on a number of key elements essential for well functioning labour markets,” comments Denis Pennel, Eurociett managing director. “We particularly welcome the increased role for EURES, the EU jobsite that will open up to private employment services and the focus on labour market governance with the inclusion of National Job Plans and scoreboards.”

However, in denying the stepping stone function of temporary agency work, the package ignores the fact that a diversity of labour contractual arrangements contributes to increase labour market participation and create jobs that would not exist otherwise.”

The package stresses the need for internal flexibility, but with today’s labour markets in a constant state of flux, and 20% of jobs created and destroyed each year, there is a need for external flexibility too.  Private employment services can and do provide a steppingstone function and assist transitions.  By staying close to the workplace they understand employer needs and ensure that workers are trained to take advantage of the jobs available.  With the urgent focus on youth unemployment, the private sector can be pivotal - around 40% of agency workers are under 25 years of age and the sector often provides them with their first experience of the world of work.  The industry also contributes to reducing illegal work, by offering well organised and regulated forms of flexible work.

There is a clear role for labour market intermediaries such as private employment services in implementing many elements of the Package - including meeting the skills shortages in growth areas such as ICT and Healthcare,”  concludes  Annemarie Muntz, Eurociett President.   The greater challenge for governments going forward will be to implement flexicure labour reforms and to ensure that social security systems and portability of rights are in place to meet the new reality of work. “


Note to the editors

As the European confederation of private employment agencies, Eurociett is the authoritative voice representing the common interests of the agency work industry in Europe. Bringing together 31 national federations and 6 of the largest multinational staffing companies as well as tens of thousands of SMEs, Eurociett accounts for more than 90% of the organised agency work sector in Europe. More info at

For further information, please contact:

Denis Pennel

Managing Director Eurociett

Tel: +32 2 421 15 85