Ahead of next month’s European Parliamentary elections, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the U.K.’s recruitment industry, sent a policy briefing to the 59 U.K. members of the European Parliament seeking re-election explaining the important role recruiters play in supporting U.K. businesses.
The REC believes the European Union (EU) must do more to create jobs and ensure the right conditions exist for businesses to expand and grow their workforce. Private sector businesses are creating the roles that are getting Europe back to work and the EU should be doing everything it can to make this happen.
The REC identified four key areas that it feels must be prioritized by the incoming European Parliament:
The EU must remove barriers to service sector growth by extending the scope of the EU Services Directive.
There are still far too many regional and national differences that prevent business growth in Europe, according to the REC. For instance, Italy requires staffing agencies to establish offices in all four regions in order to be able to operate at all, and many other countries impose a nationality or residency requirement. It is therefore hardly surprising that a recent Eurobarometer survey found that only 8 percent of small to midsize establishments engage in cross-border activities. The REC is calling for reform of the EU Services Directive and its expansion to include recruitment agencies as an important first step.
Champion effective labor market strategies and review restrictions on agency work in line with the aims of the EU Agency Workers Directive.
When initially proposing the Agency Workers Directive (AWD), the European Commission suggested that it would not only provide equal treatment for temporary staff but that it would also encourage national governments to review the restrictions they imposed on temporary workers. However, many restrictions that prevent employers from quickly responding to fluctuating demand by creating jobs remain. The REC wants the next European Parliament to fully implement Clause 4 of the AWD and to ensure each nation implements AWD as the U.K. has.
Promote an open and dynamic European labor market by expanding the EURES (European Job mobility Portal) scheme and through effective enforcement of the EU Posting of Workers Directive.
Worker mobility, a cornerstone of EU integration, is threatened when debated without reliable data. According to official figures reported by The Financial Times UK earlier this year, the 2.3 million Europeans living in the U.K. are counterbalanced by the 2.2 million British citizens living across the EU. Capitalizing on opportunities to work with the EURES portal, which is soon to be opened to recruitment agencies, and seeking effective enforcement of the Posting of Workers Directive will support a thriving labor market.
Address youth unemployment and labor market inclusion by sharing best practices and raising awareness of EU initiatives.
The REC says tackling high levels of youth unemployment across the EU must remain a key priority, and that the EU should prioritize career guidance and vocational training. Equally, ensuring the right conditions for businesses to thrive is the surest way of providing a pathway to work.
The REC called on the U.K. candidates to the European Parliament to ensure that the U.K. plays a leading role in ensuring that the EU prioritizes job creation above all else: “The next five years must be about during a shift in mind-set in order to boost job opportunities for EU citizens and help businesses to thrive in a competitive global economy. The U.K. must be at [the] forefront of getting Europe back to work and making Europe for everybody.”