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Joint position paper on recruitment and retention in European Social Services

June 24, 2020 - Social Dialogue News

Joint position paper on recruitment and retention in European Social Services

The Federation of European Social Employers together with the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) developed a joint position paper on Recruitment and Retention in European Social Services.


Due to changing demographics, labour mobility, increasing family diversity and changing mindsets, the social services sector is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in Europe. Over the past 10 years, the sector created more than 2 million jobs, to employ more than 11 million workers in the EU 27+1 in 2019. It is expected to further grow significantly over the next few decades.

The sector faces a growing demand for accessible, affordable and quality social services but at the same time, many employers experience major difficulties in recruiting, training and retaining an appropriately trained and skilled workforce. In a similar way, employees have difficulties entering the sector in a stable way, with opportunities for career developments, personal growth and fair working conditions.

That is why the Social Employers decided to draft, together with their trade union counterpart EPSU, a joint position paper drawing attention to this problem, which, if no response is given, may undermine the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The position paper also proposes some concrete actions to improve recruitment and retention in European social services.

This joint position paper examines the impact of working conditions, gender imbalances, financial constraints and ageing of the workforce on the sector and puts forward several approaches to face the sector’s recruitment and retention challenges, covering the following issues:

  • Decent work, organisational development & work-life balance
  • The image of the sector
  • Occupational Safety & Health
  • Training and lifelong learning
  • Migrant workforce and care drain
  • Digitalisation
  • Care in underserved and rural areas & in big cities
  • Emerging issues: non-standard forms of work, new models of care, migration

The paper also looks at the role of the European Institutions and highlights European Social Dialogue as a key tool to address many of the outlined challenges.

Concluding, the paper outlines topics the Social Employers and EPSU wish to address in a joint workplan, in the framework of European sectoral social dialogue.

Read the full joint position paper here.

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