Europe following the covid-19 pandemic
The importance of social partners during crisis management and the battle against inequality.
VS – 08/2021
The EC published its 2021 report on employment and social developments in Europe on 5th July. The subject of the analysis was the manifold effects that the
covid-19 crisis has had on the working world and social participation. The
report showed that the extensive measures implemented at EU and national levels
have made a significant contribution towards cushioning the impact of the
crisis on employment and inequality. The importance of the rapid expansion of
short-term working arrangements was specifically highlighted.
People in Europe were affected very differently by the effects of the pandemic
The covid-19 pandemic has had a massive
impact on the labour market and incomes throughout Europe. However, occupations
where working from home is not problematic have seen an increase in employment.
In contrast, employment in occupations that do not involve working from home
had declined. Exceptions to this were activities in the medical, educational
and social sectors.
Similarly, the consequences for employment
varied greatly from region to region. Rural areas and the Mediterranean regions
in particular suffered significant job losses. In general, regions with high
productivity and a high level of skilled people proved to be much more
resilient, therefore regional imbalances might well have been intensified by
the covid-19 pandemic.
If we look at age and employment statuses,
the impact of the pandemic was felt particularly by young people and workers in
temporary or non-standard employment. The pandemic has also exposed existing
gender inequalities and role patterns.
The importance of the social partners and social dialogue
One focus of this year's report was on the
role played by the social partners during the pandemic. Societies with strong
social partners and a strong culture of social dialogue have proven to be far
more integrative and resilient. According to the authors of the report, their
importance will continue to increase in the future. A broad social consensus is
needed to actively shape the upcoming changes in the working world.
Social security is working
The pandemic has also highlighted the
importance of efficient and broad-based social security systems. The social
security systems in Europe are "working" and they have been able to
make up for the temporary slump in wages and self-employed income, especially
among the lower income groups. At the same time, gaps in access to social
security benefits, as seen by the self-employed in Germany, were painfully