Recently, a joint report by the European Commission Joint Research Centre and Eurofound shows that large metropolitan centres in the EU offer much more employment opportunities than other regions. 

Capital-city regions are generating a disproportionate share of new employment in well-paid jobs in most member states. Employment is growing faster in these regions, as is job quality—as shown by the growing share of net new employment in well-paid jobs. The largest metropolitan areas benefit in particular from ‘thick labour markets’, with the opportunities provided by a variety and volume of firms and employers, a matching variety and volume of qualified workers and all in close proximity.

However, the growth of capital-city regions appears to come partly at the expense of other regions, including other urban regions, in the same country. The growth in the national employment shares of London and Brussels, for example, mirrors a decline in the shares of other largely urban regions in their respective countries. These developments can feed perceptions that capital-city regions are benefiting from globalisation and technological change, while the same forces are perceived to undermine the social and economic fabric outside the capitals.

Unbalanced regional growth is likely to be one of the factors contributing to social and political polarisation—most evident in the emergence of nationalist, nativist and populist political parties in many member states. The new report suggests this is not only a cultural or political phenomenon. It may indeed have roots in the emerging geographical division of labour within advanced economies, and the unequal distribution of the benefits of the ‘services shift’ and the digital revolution, as well as in the uneven regional effects of austerity policies in recent years.

At Eurodiaconia, many of our members are active in promoting access to employment for vulnerable groups, also in an effort to prevent violent radicalisation and polarisation. Our members run youth centre, vocational trainings for homeless or ex inmates to make sure they enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else to access the labour market, quality jobs and fully participate in society as active citizens.



To read the full report, please visit Eurofound’s website.

To know more about out work on prevention of radicalisation and access to emplyment, please read our latest policy paper.