Cultural diversity is important because countries, workplaces, social groups and schools increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Inclusion is the best way for us to learn from one another, and make the most of the benefits of such diversity. An inclusive labour market is a labour market that allows and encourages all people of working age to participate in paid work and provides a framework for their development.
Europe has been striving for many years to bring about a labour market that is more inclusive. Nonetheless we still see youth employment, particularly amongst vulnerable groups, as being low. Consequently more effort, policy and funding is being directed to ensure that young people can be integrated within the labour market.
A labour market that is more inclusive is a result of both institutional interventions and holistic policies. Within this perspective, institutional interventions would relate to:
- Building resilient policy making approaches, the pandemic showed that governments can react fast to implement sweeping labour market, but it also exposed the inadequate labour market policies for supporting young people;
- Making policy making more participatory, effective policy listens to the needs of those it is meant to support;
- Using an integrated approach to develop holistic policies, this would include skilling, education, employment, welfare, housing etc; and
- Using emerging technology and big data to support and evaluate policy making and understand the labour market challenges.
In turn holistic polices would include youth policy structures that:
- Develop skills and invest in vocational training, improve skills matching, and encourage a more flexible education system;
- Provide proper and high quality guidance and mentorship to young people;
- Improve social safety nets for young people, this could take the form of a Universal Youth Credit;
- Use targeted fiscal policy during economic downturns and supporting those negatively impacted by technological innovation, research shows that supporting young people has a wider impact on the economy in general;
- Invest in high productivity sectors, such as AI and green jobs, which have the potential sustainable long term growth; and
- Improve the legal and regulatory protection of workers evolving in line with labour market changes.
These policies need to have specific considerations for NEETs, whereas they need to encompass the inclusion of all youths within the labour market, vulnerable youth groups need to have specific interventions. Hence these policy measures need to consider specific strategies for these vulnerable groups. This could related to reducing the relationship between early school leaving and NEET risk, whereby coaching and mentoring would be very important. Or alternatively health policy that would also consider improving rehabilitation opportunities or providing more job opportunities for young people with illnesses or impairments.
Diversity and inclusion have been themes, which within Europe, have been widely given consideration and importance. It is acknowledged that through diversity we achieve our strength. Nonetheless, the labour market still needs to achieve the flexibility and readiness to fully embrace diversity. This can be instigated with the right policy AND the proper implementation of such policy. The green transition and our strive to a more sustainable economy provided the right added impetus to achieve this.
Article written by Jobsplus in collaboration with Anna Maria Darmanin on behalf of Project Intercept.