ARC FUND / Blog / State-of-the-art on inclusive labor markets for vulnerable groups

State-of-the-art on inclusive labor markets for vulnerable groups

ARC Fund, in collaboration with its partners in SYNCLUSIVE from Finland, Portugal, and the Netherlands, developed a state-of-the-art report presenting current insights and research on inclusive labor markets for vulnerable groups in Europe, specifically in four countries – Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, and the Netherlands. 

The insights address current challenges, barriers, and opportunities for disadvantaged groups’ inclusion. The report discusses the main vulnerable groups in the labour market, the stakeholders engaged in including vulnerable groups in the labour market, the current labour market challenges, the goals, standards, and indicators associated with vulnerable group inclusion, and the main inclusion strategies promoting vulnerable group employment. These issues are addressed at the EU and national/regional levels independently.

ARC Fund developed the methodology for the report and is the principal author of the policy-level research and analysis at the EU level. The report is based on desk research and interviews conducted at the national and EU levels. The desk study included scientific literature, regulations, policy documents, and reports from a variety of EU institutions. Interviews were carried out with EU and national stakeholders working on the employment of vulnerable groups. 

Global trends and threats, socio-economic phenomena impacted by these trends, and institutional, regulatory, and policy deficiencies that exacerbate socio-economic problems are the main groups of challenges identified in the report. There are a number of specific challenges with institutional gaps, policy, and regulation that affect the dynamics of the labour market, including gaps in the implementation of laws and regulations; insufficient or unsatisfactory results of policies and strategies, particularly for the employment of vulnerable groups; one-sided or biased policy focus; unsuitable policy design; policies under construction or to be developed; poor stakeholder involvement; lack of support for good practices; financial constraints; capacity constraints; and gaps in monitoring and evaluation.

Many vulnerable groups inside the EU were identified by the research, along with the factors that make them vulnerable. They were the same in all of the countries under scrutiny. They include women, young and old people, persons with health issues and impairments, ethnic and racial minorities, migrants, people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those with limited education and skills. Vulnerabilities in the labour market can include discrimination, lack of skills and experience, precarious employment, low job quality, and other obstacles to getting work.

The report also discusses various goals, standards, and indicators regarding the EU’s commitment to promote the inclusion of vulnerable groups in the labour market through various policy initiatives and strategies addressing issues such as unemployment, discrimination, and social exclusion. Specific inclusion strategies within the context of European labour market policies are explored as well and classified based on a variety of dimensions, including the level of dissemination, level of intervention, policy aims, and the vulnerable populations they target. There is a special emphasis on policy-level initiatives proposed by the European Union Employment Guidelines, which address issues such as raising labour demand, expanding access to employment, strengthening labour market functionality, and promoting equitable opportunities and social inclusion for all. The various stakeholders involved in promoting labour market inclusion for vulnerable groups are also discussed.

Each of the four countries presented an overview of their labour market context, the vulnerable groups in the country, the stakeholders identified as playing a significant role in vulnerable groups’ labour market inclusion, and the obstacles the groups face. They also described the goals, standards, indicators, and inclusion initiatives that were considered and executed in their respective countries.

The full report will be published soon on the website of SYNCLUSIVE:

SYNCLUSIVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under grant agreement No 101094526