The first annual European Jobs and Skills review takes an in-depth look at trends in employment and unemployment in countries and regions across Europe.

This report addresses the critical issues of underemployment, structural unemployment, productivity and wages, changes in the nature of work, skills supply, labour market gaps and youth unemployment.

The world is changing rapidly due to globalisation and technological advances: many traditional jobs have been lost forever as a result of significant structural changes. Over 24 million people are now unemployed in Europe – more than one in 10 of the labour force. While a third of this total is a cyclical problem linked to the financial and sovereign debt crises of recent years, the remaining two-thirds represents a structural problem that pre-dates the economic crash.

Some groups have been finding it particularly hard to find work, not just since the recession but for many years. The European labour market has been polarising, with mid-skill jobs disappearing as high-skill and low-skill jobs take over.

Europe needs to significantly increase in its employment rate in order to tackle its cyclical and structural unemployment problems, and to create more high-productivity, well-paid jobs. To do so, we must do more to develop the skills of young people who do not go through university, and to help individuals to update their skills throughout their working lives. At the same time, people need to be incentivised to acquire new skills and firms must be encouraged to utilise those skills.

The new analysis presented in this report assesses the scale of some of these challenges in all European countries and regions, and considers what can be learned from their often very different experiences – both since the financial and sovereign debt crises that began in 2007, and over the longer term.