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The role of PES in reducing skills shortages through talent recruitment from outside the EU

Although the COVID-19 crisis may break the recent trend of increasing labour shortages, due to demographic and technological changes, most EU Member States suffer from a long-term shortage of skilled labour in various sectors. 

This challenge cannot be addressed solely by encouraging intra-EU mobility, so there is a need to assess potential actions that could improve the attractiveness of the EU for highly skilled workers from third countries. 

The EU is in a competitive disadvantage especially as regards the highly skilled: of all non-EU migrants coming to OECD countries, 68 % of the highly educated ones choose a non-European destination (mostly US, Canada, Australia). 

The aim of this study commissioned for the Network of European Public Employment Services is to explore the role and activities of public employment services (PES) in alleviating skills shortages through talent recruitment from outside the EURES area.

The study is divided into six main sections:

1. The need for a high-skilled labour force from third countries

2. Current EU strategies

3. The current role of PES in national immigration strategies

4. The potential for expanding the role of PES and other actors

5. Existing challenges and best practices

6. Recommendations for the PES Network

The study is based on expert interviews, desk research, and a survey specially commissioned for this report and completed by the PES of Austria, Flanders (part of Belgium), Germany, Spain, Finland, Latvia, and Poland.

Project details

BI was commissioned by the ICON Institute to prepare this study. The ICON Institute leads a consortium that provides professional support to the European Network of Public Employment Services (supported by the European Commission). 

ClientICON Institute (Germany)
Project leader Tamás Molnár
Duration04/04/2020 - 30/10/2020