How the “EU Fit for 55” Impacts the European Workforce 

Published on Sep 4, 2023

Written by Mariana Marques

It’s a green world. Or it will be, at least, when we reach 2050. The European Green Deal aims at making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Other continents and countries have similar ongoing projects, but the European Commission is now taking its Green Deal a step further. 

The Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) was revealed in March this year, detailing strategies and benefits to strengthen the manufacturing sector in order to accelerate the production of net-zero technologies. But rolling back the tape to 2021 - one other piece of legislation impacts not just the Green Deal, but the European workforce: The EU Fit for 55. 

What is the EU Fit for 55?

The EU Fit for 55 is a European climate law that makes reducing net zero emissions by 55% by 2030 a legal obligation. This supports the Green Deal plan of becoming fully net zero by 2050, and it’s certainly enough to keep EU countries on their toes when it comes to their sustainability advancements. 

Hopes and dreams were replaced by a clear plan with a fixed deadline. We know green jobs are on the rise - but what else is and will be changing in the labour market to reflect the latest EU green moves? Recently, OECD published a report exploring the effects of the EU Fit for 55 on the European labour market and on the demand for skills, using Lightcast data in some of its sections. We compiled some of the report’s highlights in this article. 

What skills fit the EU Fit for 55? 

To analyse how skills demand is changing, OECD grouped skills into six broad categories, as seen in the graph below. The OECD team used the OECD ENV-Linkages dynamic global Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model to assess the impact of these policies, with a focus on the 2030 time horizon. Skills data are based on the Lightcast dataset.

Following the implementation of "Fit for 55" policies, the most in-demand skills are expected to be related to interpersonal communication and the use of digital technologies. Conversely, the demand for skills related to traditional tools and technologies is projected to decline.

"The effects of the EU Fit for 55 package on labour markets and the demand for skills", OECD report.

The “technology, skills and tools” category are expected to see the most significant change (growth or decline) in demand. This category includes a total of 44 skills related to a particular software or hardware tool such as lasers, milling machines, programme testing software and access servers. 

Taking into account all skills analysed, the three skills in the “technology skills and tools” category that are expected to grow the most between 2019 and 2030 are web platform development software, operating system software, and analytical or scientific software. On the other hand, skills that are projected to grow the least include offset printing presses, injection molding machines, and operating lasers. 

Looking into the “Skills” category, two skills that are in the group of skills projected to increase the most in demand are programming and time management. Conversely, repairing and equipment maintenance are projected to decline in demand. The declining demand for operating traditional hardware tools and equipment could be due to the integration of technology and automation in manufacturing processes. 

With skills related to technology and software project to rise, many blue collar and farm workers may have to transition to non-blue collar occupations,  and re-skill or up-skill accordingly. Preparing for such changes ahead of time will enable workers to relocate across sectors and occupations as needed, organisations to more easily move employees within the business, and policymakers to set up relevant training programmes. 

Get more global data 

Fit for 55 policies and the general move towards a greener economy is affecting the European labour market immensely. As seen in OECD’s research, employment trends and skills demand are projected to change for years to come - and it’s worth understanding these projections to better prepare for the future. 

Whether you need global, national, or regional data to conduct your own research or make strategic decisions - Lightcast offers easy-to-access data through easy-to-use products that will help you answer many of the pressing labour market questions your organisation faces. Get in touch with our team below to discuss your challenges and unlock new opportunities. 

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