Shilo A. E., Kirakosyan A. A.

Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University


Nowadays, one of the most important elements of EU’s economical system is labor market, and its main purpose is maintaining balance between demand and proposition of labor force. An instrument to reach this kind of economical balance is optimal labor mobility.

Labor mobility parameter affects efficiency of functioning both the state and separate companies, reflects labor market’s readiness for structural reforms. So studying labor mobility is very important for creating an effective EU’s employment policy, which could improve labor market and its ability to adapt. This defines the topicality of the given article for EU countries. In general meaning, it can be said that labor mobility is the ability of workers to adapt to changing production conditions, changing job functions, readiness to raise qualification and also an aggregate of real migration processes in economical and territorial space.

There are two types of mobility: professional and territorial mobility. Professional mobility is a principal readiness to change occupation, job, workplace, residence and overall lifestyle. Territorial mobility is an actual migration of workforce caused by changes in production development, working conditions.

The main problem of EU with labor mobility is that it has fairly low level. Although every EU-resident can freely move between countries and change his workplace, only 3% of total working population actually works and lives in other countries. A lot more people just leave EU. Annual mobility within EU countries between regions stands at an average annual rate of 1%, but cross-border mobility is only 0,35%. Both within and between countries mobility rates are far below the rates within Australia (1,5%) and the United States (2,4%), although the rate is similar to those between Canadian provinces.

According to a Eurobarometer survey on geographical and labor market mobility, most Europeans – almost 60% – think that moving countries or regions is good for EU integration. Half think it’s good for the economy.

It is also necessary to say about “brain drain”, because EU is suffering from this process right now. Brain drain (or human capital flight), is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. Organization for Economic cooperation and development made a research which shows that nowadays UK is experiencing the biggest brain drain in last 50 years. There are 3 million people that were born in UK, but ended up living in another country. More than 1,1 million of them are high-qualified workers, doctors, teachers, engineers.

Situation with territorial mobility is not so critical. It’s characterized by immigration and emigration. EU is a region where migration process gets really intense. Germany, France, UK, Netherlands are countries that take most of immigrants. There are almost 13 million legal immigrants in EU now. Most of them are young people under 25 years old.

During 2011, about 3.1 million people immigrated into one of the EU Member States, while at least 2.0 million emigrants were reported to have left an EU Member State. During this time immigration flows had increased a little.

It also needs to be said about optimal currency area. In economics, an optimal currency area (OCA), also known as an optimal currency region (OCR), is a geographical region in which it would maximize economic efficiency to have the entire region share a single currency. EU is considered an OCA, but it needs to match some criteria to actually be one. Criteria include labor mobility across the region. This includes physical ability to travel (visas, workers' rights, etc.), lack of cultural barriers to free movement (such as different languages) and institutional arrangements (such as the ability to have superannuation transferred throughout the region). But, as it was said earlier, mobility in EU is low.

Of course, high labor mobility has some negative impacts on economics and labor markets, but its positive impacts are much more significant. So, increasing labor mobility is very important question for EU countries as it can help reducing unemployment level, create new workplaces, improve overall condition of labor market.