People in a meeting.

Beyond education and training – How can we adapt to future needs of local labour markets?

Before this decade is over, labour force shortages will have become palpable in many sectors of European economies. Strategies to ensure long-term labour market resilience must be put in place now.

7 Million people or 2,6 %: This is the expected decrease in the EU’s working age population by the end of the decade. Eurostat predicts the number of people at “working age” (20 to 64) to fall from 265 million in 2022 to 258 million in 2030.

Which strategies are needed to address the European labour shortage in a sustainable way?

“Think about the car factories: when they were booming, they offered housing and lots of infrastructure for their workers. The equivalent of this today could be hybrid and flexible working, or allowing someone to work from another country or another region. It is not only about jobs and skills, it is about the package of people’s lives”, says Melinda Mills, Professor of Demography and Population Health at the Universities of Oxford and Groningen.

The first step to create environments that are able to attract, develop and retain talents is to distinguish between short-term fixes and long-term strategies. While upskilling and reskilling of the domestic population as well as immigration can alleviate specific needs of labour markets, there is a need for substantial policy reforms to improve salaries, job security, and working arrangements, as well as for strengthening collective bargaining.


Find recommendations based on the newest population research in this Policy Brief: Beyond Education and Training – How Can We Adapt to Future Needs of Local Labour Markets?. The brief is part of the project Mapping Inequalities Through the Life Course, funded by the European Union.