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Meeting on Social Services Workforce: Key Learnings and Recommendations

March 24, 2020

Meeting on Social Services Workforce: Key Learnings and Recommendations

On 27th February 2020, the Social Employers and EPSU co-hosted the second European Thematic Meeting in the framework of DialogueS. The topic of the discussion was “How to manage diversity and mobility of the workforce in more attractive social services”.


On 27th February 2020, the Social Employers and EPSU co-hosted the second European Thematic Meeting in the framework of DialogueS. The topic of the discussion was “How to manage diversity and mobility of the workforce in more attractive social services”.

50 representatives of Employers and Trade Unions discussed and exchanged experiences through a mixture of presentations and working groups on how to build diversity in the workplace, especially regarding gender and age, and how to manage mobility and migration. The event was opened with an intervention by Ilias Livanos, Cedefop expert working in the department for skills and labour market. He presented the "Cedefop 2020 Skills Forecast", a projection of future employment trends. Regarding residential care and social work, the forecast shows that the share of occupation in this field is expected to grow by 18.5%, representing 4,9% of total employment by 2030. He also highlighted a big gap in the share of social services workers in the general working population between countries, from 12% in Sweden to 1% in Bulgaria and Greece.

This was followed by an intervention from Sylvain Renouvel, Director of the Social Employers, who gave an introduction to the topic of the first workshop "Diversity in the workplace". He presented figures from the newly released Social Employers Observatory report on the characteristics of the social services workforce, highlighting specifically the gender imbalances and ageing of the workforce.

In the afternoon, Jakob Embacher, Policy Assistant at EPSU, presented the topic of the second workshop "Mobility, migration and ethical recruitment". The presentation focused on the opportunity and challenges of migration in the social services sector, and on how trade unions and employers can promote ethical recruitment.

The day was concluded by the presentation of the key learnings and take aways for the national and European level. The two designated rapporteurs Joelle Garello (Elisfa, FR) and Nina Bergman (SAHP/Vårdförbundet, SE) shared the key points discussed during the two working group sessions. The main points and recommendations brought forward by employees' and employers' representatives are available in the seminar's Summary Report. 

Closing the conference, Paola Panzeri, EPSU Policy Officer, stated that
It is crucial to look at how to increase diversity in the social services sector, in which over 80% of the workforce is female but top management is predominantly male. Salaries are lower compared to many sectors and especially in male-dominated sectors. This seminar gave us the opportunity to start discussing together these crucial elements and showed once more that the social partners’ discussions must be continued and social dialogue strengthened, at all levels, from local to EU, to ensure better working condition for all workers in the sector.

Gregor Tomschizek, President of the Social Employers, added:
Today we discussed two topics of high relevance for our sector. Many of the key messages and recommendations that we take from this seminar will guide us in our future work at European level, and in our cooperation with EPSU. Once again, we emphasize that EU-level social dialogue for the social services sector is a crucial tool to ensure good working conditions and sufficient and well-trained staff. These conditions will make the sector more attractive and allow it to prosper and grow."

Supporting Documents


This Meeting received financial support from the European Union, within the framework of the DialogueS project. To learn more about DialogueS, click here.

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