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News article28 February 2020European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

The EU job market and workplace in the 2020s

What will the world of work look like in 10 years’ time? Will we still be doing the same jobs in the same sectors with the same skills? Who will our colleagues be?

The EU job market and workplace in the 2020s

Cedefop’s Skills Forecast, which forecasts future trends in employment, aims to provide insight into what the labour market and workplaces in Europe will be like by 2030 – and which skills will be required. It allows users to compare employment prospects and future trends across Europe, making it the ideal tool for jobseekers, employers, students, researchers and policymakers.

The forecast has been under continuous development since 2005, and currently provides information about the EU Member States, Iceland, North Macedonia, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK. It covers 66 sectors of economic activity, 41 occupation groups and 3 levels of education.

The agency’s full findings can be found on their website, while we’ve summarised some of the main points below.

Labour force

  • The size of the labour force is expected to increase by 1% by 2030;
  • The age of the labour force will shift slightly, with a 0.5% decrease in those aged 25-49 and a 3.8% growth in those aged 64 and over;
  • The size of the working age population is expected to increase by 3.7%, although there is significant variation across countries;
  • The gender balance will remain largely the same, with more men in employment than women.


  • Basic manufacturing industries are expected to decline, while service industries and advanced manufacturing industries are expected to grow;
  • The fastest growing service sectors will be legal and accounting, research and development, advertising and marketing research, and administrative and support service activities;
  • The fastest growing manufacturing sectors will be electrical equipment, other machinery and equipment, manufacturing and motor vehicles.


  • There is expected to be significant growth in high-skill occupations (e.g. managers, professionals and associate professionals) and some growth in certain low-skill occupations (e.g. sales, security, cleaning, catering and caring);
  • Job losses are expected in medium-skill occupations (e.g. skilled manual workers, clerks);
  • The supply of those with higher-level qualifications may grow faster than the demand for such employees, with the same situation affecting those with few or lower-level qualifications.

Work tasks and skills

  • The number of physical tasks that employees undertake at work is expected to decrease, while the number of intellectual and social tasks will increase;
  • Business literacy, selling/persuading and serving/attending will become increasingly important skills for workers;
  • There will be a significant decline in the need for machine-based (non-ICT) skills and increasing demand for ICT skills;
  • The ability to work autonomously will be highly valued.

About Cedefop

Cedefop, also known as the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, was founded in 1975. The agency helps the European Commission, Member States and social partners to develop European vocational education and training (VET) policies, in order to increase employment rates and ensure smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Throughout 2020, we’ll be looking at Cedefop’s findings in relation to individual occupational fields, from care workers to ICT professionals. Check back soon to find out more.


Related links:

Cedefop Skills Forecast


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