Jobless migrant women want more e-skills


Female immigrants in the EU want more technical assistance and IT training, according to an American study which says a lack of e-skills is putting migrant women behind their male counterparts.

The study, which paints a bleak picture of immigrant women's job prospects in European countries, concludes that women are not getting the computer skills they need for the workplace.

Only 3% have their formal qualifications recognised in their host countries, the study found.

One fifth have no e-skills

The 375 women in the study have an average age of 36 and 55% of them are unemployed. The majority end up working in menial jobs like cleaning, restaurant work and social care, which have no correlation to their formal training.  

20% of the women in the study were computer illiterate and most of those with no e-skills were either working or looking for work in Italy, followed by Hungary and Spain.

At the other end of the spectrum, immigrant women living in the Netherlands had the highest level of e-skills.

Asked what governments and NGOs could do to improve their job prospects, over a third of women wanted more help looking for jobs and more computer skills training.  

A majority also reportedly either claim benefits or do two jobs to make ends meet and support their families.

The study's findings feed into a wider problem in that European enterprise is being hampered by a "skills mismatch," according to the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium.

Last year the federation predicted unemployment levels in the bloc would rise from 18 million to 22 million even though there were four million vacancies that employers could not fill (EURACTIV 03/03/09).

More out of work men in EU

Though the findings of the study concentrate on female unemployment, both genders were burnt badly by the collapsing job market during the financial crisis.

In January 2010, the unemployment rate in the 27-member bloc was 9.3% for women and 9.7% for men.

Though women generally tend to have higher unemployment than men, the effect of the economic crisis on the construction and manufacturing sectors has put more men out of work than women, according to the EU's statistics office, Eurostat.

In a report by the European Commission, EU unemployment levels will continue to rise and are expected to breach the 10% mark in 2010, with young people worst affected by joblessness (EURACTIV 11/01/10).

According to the European Commission, the current economic downturn, the most severe recession since World War II, has had a significant negative impact on EU labour markets. 

Unemployment across the EU's 27 member states is set to worsen in 2010, and may not begin to fall until 2011, the European Commission said in its annual Joint Employment Report on 15 December 2009.

According to the latest Commission forecasts, unemployment will worsen over the course of 2010, peaking towards the end of the year at approximately 10.3%. This would mean that a total of 28 million Europeans should be out of work in a year's time (EURACTIV 16/12/09).

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