Recent years have shown that trends in globalization, digitization, demographic change, migration, and others have exacerbated the problem of employment imbalances, which have a serious impact on global and national labour markets. It is noted that this problem will be exacerbated in the nearest future by the shock effect of the COVID-19 pandemic announced by WHO in March 2020. It has been stated that for national governments, this necessitates a focus on addressing the problem of imbalances in the internal labour markets through public policy instruments. For Ukraine, this is also important in the context of achieving the objectives of the Association Agreement with the EU, since imbalances in employment are one of the causes of the socio-economic divergence between them, which has been observed since 2014. The main types of imbalances in the labour markets of Ukraine and the European Union are shown. The dynamics of convergence and divergence processes at the EU-Ukraine level in the employment sector are evaluated, and the potential consequences of these processes are identified. The EU’s current approaches and programmatic tools to tackle imbalances and divergence in employment are comprehensively described. Based on a critical approach, a general description of the current state of the labour market of Ukraine and its state policy in the sphere of labour and protection of social and labour rights of people is given. The most urgent problems in terms of employment, quantity and quality of jobs, dynamics of labour migration, etc., which have resulted from fragmentation and neglect of such policy are identified. A number of recommendations have been developed on the first steps of Ukraine’s public policy aimed at balancing national and regional labour markets and overcoming divergence with the European Union in the field of employment. It is stated that the relevant state policy should be implemented in two stages. Firstly, in the near future, due to the spread of the pandemic coronavirus infection, it is necessary to adopt and urgently implement the Crisis Measures Program, developed based on the OECD Recommendations on urgent employment and social policy actions needed to support the population and business in supporting the population and business with the COVID-19 pandemic. During the second stage – in the period after the cessation of the pandemic of the coronavirus and the abolition of the quarantine regime, the first steps should be the adoption of new labour legislation of Ukraine, comprehensive programs for preserving existing and creating new jobs, strengthening the institutional role of the State Employment Service, improving the domestic remuneration system and other activities.
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