Labour market mismatches
AbstractThe reasons for a mismatch between labour supply and demand can be cyclical, frictional or structural, which is typically when the educational level of job-seekers does not correspond to the profiles sought on the labour market or there is a lack of geographic mobility. By using a macroeconomic-style approach involving the construction of a mismatch index, the size of the skill mismatch can be assessed by comparing the distribution of unemployment (labour supply) and employment (as a proxy for demand) by educational level, based on labour force survey data. The level of the index in Belgium suggests that job-seekers are proportionately not skilled enough to meet employers’ needs. The index is highest in Brussels, where most jobs call for highly-skilled workers, while there is a shortage of them amongst Brussels residents. In a European context, Belgium has the highest index in the EU15, but this does not go hand in hand with an aboveaverage unemployment rate. The nature of Belgium’s recruitment problems can be discerned more precisely by looking at the distribution of labour supply and demand by profession, and especially through a regional analysis of critical functions, as a diploma is not the only factor determining the probability of getting a job. Belgium has a relatively large dispersion of local unemployment rates. It is generally assumed that labour mobility helps reduce geographic mismatches on the labour market, because vacant positions in one area can be filled by people with suitable qualifications who live elsewhere. In Brussels, posts are mostly occupied by people who live in other regions. By contrast, jobs in Flanders and Wallonia are overwhelmingly done by those who live in that region, and relatively few workers commute between the north and south of the country. Workers’ characteristics play a role in the likelihood that they will commute, as witnessed by the small proportion of low-skilled workers amongst commuters. Other obstacles include the language barrier, difficulty getting to the workplace, and the costs entailed in exercising a profession. However, the fact that employers have trouble recruiting staff on both sides of the language boundary, where critical functions are similar, and that the mismatch indices for Flanders and Wallonia are alike indicates that the Belgian labour market not only has a mobility problem but also – and even chiefly – encounters qualifications and skills mismatches.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by National Bank of Belgium in its journal Economic Review.
Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): II (September)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Boulevard de Berlaimont 14, B-1000 Bruxelles
Phone: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 25 34
Fax: (+ 32) (0) 2 221 31 62
Web page: http://www.nbb.be/
More information through EDIRC
mismatch; skill mismatch index; vacancies; Beveridge curve; commuting; labour demand; labour supply;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - General
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1989. "Les courbes de Beveridge et de Phillips comme outils d’analyse du chômage," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 65(3), pages 396-422, septembre.
- Stefano Scarpetta & Anne Sonnet & Ilias Livanos & Imanol Núñez & W. Craig Riddell & Xueda Song & Ilaria Maselli, 2012. "Challenges facing European labour markets: Is a skill upgrade the appropriate instrument?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 4-30, January.
- Henri Sneessens, 1995. "Persistance du chômage, répartition des revenus et qualifications," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 287(1), pages 17-25.
- Richard Desjardins & Kjell Rubenson, 2011. "An Analysis of Skill Mismatch Using Direct Measures of Skills," OECD Education Working Papers 63, OECD Publishing.
- Van Haeperen, Béatrice, 1998. "La courbe de Beveridge : Belgique, 1970 - 1993," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998019, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
- J. De Mulder & Druant, M., 2012. "Euro area labour markets and the crisis," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue II, pages 45-54, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.