European Social partners meet to discuss diversity and mobility for the social services workers

Thematic Seminar “How to manage diversity and mobility of the workforce in more attractive social services

(16 March 2020) On February 27th, EPSU together with the European Social Employers organized the 2nd technical seminar in the framework  of the DialogueS project. In the course of the day, 50 representatives of Trade Unions and Employers from all over Europe discussed and exchanged experiences  on how to build diversity in the workplace, especially regarding gender and age, and how to manage mobility and migration.

The day began with a welcome address by Maryvonne Nicolle, President of the EPSU Standing Committee for Health and Social Services and Gregor Tomschizek, President of the Social Employers. Both speakers stressed the importance of improving working conditions to strengthen diversity in the workplace and of finding ways to ensure fair migration. This was followed by an overview of the development in the care labour that shows that the social sector is expected to grow by 18.5% and will represent 4.9% of total employment by 2030.

Following this, Sylvain Renouvel, Director of FESE, set the scene for the first round of working group discussions focusing on diversity with a short overview of trends in the fields of gender and age in the social services workforce. During the working groups, participants agreed that collective bargaining and social dialogue are the most reliable and effective tools to improve the recruitment and retention of a more diverse workforce, above all by improving working time and conditions.

The second session of working groups in the afternoon was started by Jakob Embacher, policy assistant at EPSU. The presentation reflected on how social partners can cooperate to ensure fair recruitment practices. In the working group session following this presentation, participants acknowledged that there was no easy fix for complex phenomena such a care drain, but that social partners need to work together to ensure the best possible integration of migrants.

After finishing the working groups, the presentation of the key learnings and take aways for the national and European level took place. The two designated rapporteurs Nina Bergman (SAHP/Vårdförbundet, SE) and Joelle Garello (Elisfa, FR) shared the key points discussed during the two working group sessions. You will find the key outcomes in the report below. Concluding remarks were held by Paola Panzeri, policy officer at EPSU and Gregor Tomschizek. Both stressed the importance of concrete improvements of working conditions. Strengthening the image of the sector alone could never suffice in the absence of this central effort.

The seminar was part of the DialogueS project that aims to pave the way for a sectoral social dialogue in the field of Social Services. The key messages will lay the groundwork for the European social partners to find effective measures for concrete improvements. It took place on 27 February. The next workshop will take place on the 10th of June, which will then be followed by a final conference in autumn.


  • 27 February 2020 Seminar How to manage diversity and mobility of the workforce social services