Cross-border working may hold key to skills shortages

HR
professionals support the European Commission’s drive to improve the
cross-border movement of workers in Europe, believing it will help to alleviate
skills shortages.

The
EC wants to set up a business-led task force that will highlight the barriers
faced by workers who want to work in another European country. There are
significant problems with the recognition of qualifications in different
countries, for example. 

The
task force will also promote spreading job vacancies information in other
countries.

The
EC proposals will be presented at the Stockholm summit of the 15 member states
in March.

Nigel
Connolly, HR director of airline Easyjet, welcomed the task force. He said,
"This would make employment much easier for us. The EC also needs to look
at standardising employment contracts as each country has different
legislation."

The
EU’s workforce has been stationery, with less than 0.5 per cent of employees
moving to other countries each year. This compares with 2-3 per cent of workers
moving from one state to another in the US.

The
task force would look at bringing information to the public about moving
between countries as well as providing more details about mobility and the
skills gap. Its proposals also include making pensions more portable, which
would require European countries bringing into line the different ways they tax
pensions.

The
Swedish government, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, also wants to use
the Stockholm summit to promote the participation of women and older people at
work.

By
Karen Higginbottom

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