Wednesday 24 November 08:30-10:00 room C2


Unemployment figures in Europe grew steadily during the 70-s, 80-s and early 90-s., Since 1997 a modest decline has started to take place, and the average figure dropped from 10.8% in February 1997 to 9.3 in July 1999. This EU-15 figure does not show the huge difference across Europe, ranging from 2.8 % unemployment in Luxembourg and 3.3% in The Netherlands to almost 16% in Spain.

Many jobs still disappear every day, mainly in the Industry sector. But new jobs, often in new sectors, often requiring new skills, are now making up for the losses. These new jobs are mainly in the service sector, and most of them are flexible in terms of contract and work scheme (EWON report, March 1999, Labour).

The countries best fighting unemployment are those that manage to match flexible labour supply and demand better, thus achieving more competitive economies. This is reflected, for instance, by the Davos World Ranking of Competitive Nations, now led by The Netherlands.

These developments go hand in hand with the shift towards the Information Society, partly, but very visibly, typified by the uptake of new technologies. Some indicators, according to a Eurobarometer Survey by the end of 1998:

  • rapid growth in numbers of users of Internet at home (8% EU average, ranging from 19% in Germany to 40% in Sweden)
  • integration of PC’s in households (31% EU average ranging from 12% in Greece to 60% in The Netherlands)
  • rapid adoption of GSM phones for private use (30% EU average, ranging from 19% in Germany to 60% and higher in Sweden and Finland)

In business, a PC is now the norm, and e-mail is dominant, with the availability of Internet access, according to the SPECTRUM ICT Survey 1998.

The session will present the latest views on employment strategies in the context of the Information Society, both presented by government representatives and industry. It will be capped off by the Strategic vision of the so called “Gillenhammer report” and the latest work of the European Commission, in preparation for the European Summit that will take place in Helsinki shortly after the IST Conference.


Moderator: Rick Hornik (UK), Business Editor Europe, Time Magazine

  • John Kelly (IRL) Irish government official Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Entrepreneurship policy in Ireland– Presentation of the Irish Initiative (.doc, 24kb)
  • Hanne Shapiro (DK), Director of Competence and IT of the Danish Technology Institute on the Danish National Initiatives towards Support of Life Long Learning: Adequate training, learning and education of the workforce in the Information Society (.doc, 29kb)
  • Dr. Tuomo Alasoini (FI), Director of National Workplace Development Programme of the Finnish Ministry of Labour, Labour Market Counsellor: Supporting change in work organisations (.doc, 40kb)
  • Matti Salmenper√§ (FI), Finnish Ministry of Labour, Member of the European High Level Group; Strategies for Job opportunities in the Information: Innovations - the core of employment and quality work (.doc, 26kb)

Industry experts will present their views of the impact of technology on employment in the next Millennium.

  • Sylvie Fauconnier, France Telecom: Impact of new technologies on the evolution of jobs and professional practices (.doc, 46kb)
  • Bruno Schr√∂der (B), Unisys Belgium. Unisys organised a specific training of unemployed people to tackle the Millennium Bug : What will happen after the Millennium change (.doc, 24kb)
  • Dieter Seitz (D), Deutsche Telekom AG.
  • Les S. Clarke (UK), Director Business services, British Telecom: Think Activity, not Place – Flexible Working in Practise (.doc, 88kb)

Concluding remarks: Joan Majo, chairman of the Information Society Forum Workgroup on Work and Employment in the IS: Jobs for all ? The ISF point of view.


Jacques Babot (Jacques.Babot@cec.eu.int)

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