Report

Skills Outlook to 2030 in Europe – An increasingly polarised occupational structure

Cedefop’s skill supply and demand projections provide comprehensive information about the current structure of Europe’s labour market and potential future trends. This report presents the results and findings from the most recent update to the projections along with Eurofound’s analysis on the task content of employment, using the jobs monitor approach.

Predicted employment trends will drive continued polarisation within the labour market. Significant growth in employment for high-skill occupations (managers, professionals and associate professionals) is expected, together with some growth for less skilled jobs related to sales, security, cleaning,catering and caring occupations. Job losses are projected in medium-skill occupations, such as skilled manual workers (especially in agriculture), and for clerks.

These changes in occupational employment patterns result from a combination of two main factors:
(a) continuing structural change in the economy in terms of its sectoral mix; (b) technological and other changes that influence the patterns of skill demand within sectors.

These two factors are characterised as ‘industry’ and ‘occupational’ effects respectively. For most occupations the occupational effects are much more significant than the industry effects, although the latter remain significant in many cases. The continuing decline of employment in primary and manufacturing industries has an impact on many manual occupations, while the growth in employment in many parts of the service sector continues to benefit a number of non-manual occupations.

The Eurofound analysis confirms the indications of the main results with regard to job polarisation, suggesting an increasingly polarised occupational structure in the EU, driven by strong growth at the bottom of the wage distribution. The analysis also highlights a shift towards more autonomy, less routine, more information and communication technology (ICT), fewer physical tasks, and more social and intellectual tasks over the forecast period to 2030.

Medium-skill occupations are projected to see slow growth or even decline in the number of jobs, as automation and offshoring take their toll. But new workers will still be needed in these occupations to replace those who leave or retire. Replacement demand (RD) rates (job openings arising from a worker leaving a job) average 3.7% each year across all countries, though this varies by country and occupation. Average national RD ranges from 2.6% per annum in Hungary to 5.0% in Iceland. The highest rates throughout the EU are in occupations with more seniority (such as managers and senior o cials), and in sectors such as agriculture and shery, with their aged workforces. Summing expansion demand and RD gives a total requirement of 158 million job openings to be filled between 2016 and 2030.
There is considerable interest and concern in many countries about possible imbalances and mismatches between the demand for and supply of skills. The analysis highlights tensions between demand and supply trends. While the problem of overquali cation of young graduates may be resolved in the long term, as the effects of the crisis unwind, the immediate prospects are for overqualification for many people employed in both high and low-skill occupations. However, it is not easy to develop robust measurements of such phenomena. Overall, there are indications that the supply of those with higher-level qualifications may be growing faster than demand and of those with few or lower-level qualifications.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Skills forecast: trends and challenges to 2030 | Cedefop

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