- Policy makers at the ILO discuss strategies to prevent a mismatch between skills and jobs during times of transition.
- Countries should review their skills policies and anticipate the skills required for future green jobs.
- Effective policy coordination, social dialogue, partnership, and sound national sectoral policies are crucial to a successive transition to work in the green economy.
Heinz Koller, the Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at the ILO spoke at the Informal meeting of employment and social affairs ministers (EPSCO) chaired by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The discussion revolved around strategies to prevent a mismatch between skills and jobs during times of transition.
According to the ILO, only half of the global workforce is employed in jobs that align with their level of education. This indicates that the remaining workers are either overeducated or undereducated. Workers in high-income countries have a higher likelihood of finding jobs that match their education level compared to those in low-income countries.
- “The matching rate between education level and jobs is higher for wage earners than for the self-employed, as well as in countries with lower pay inequality.”
EU facing high skills and labour shortages
Currently, the EU is facing relatively high skills and labour shortages. Koller explained, “In Europe and Central Asia, we anticipate a reduction in the labour force by approximately 2.4 million workers between 2022 and 2024, partly due to demographic trends.” Unemployment and skills mismatches are expected to slightly increase, and by 2024, the region’s participation rate is projected to be among the lowest globally, at 58%.
Preparing for Green Jobs
Skills mismatches hurt workers, enterprises, and countries. To address this, Koller emphasized the need for a comprehensive and strategic approach to achieve a just transition that creates opportunities.
Countries should review their skills policies and anticipate the skills required for future green jobs. The ILO has estimated that the transition to a green economy has the potential to generate 18 million jobs worldwide.
Effective policy coordination, social dialogue, partnership, and sound national sectoral policies are crucial in this regard.
Mainstreaming the just transition through technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and lifelong learning systems is equally important. It is necessary to provide initial education targeting specific jobs and sectors for young people, as well as ongoing training for adult workers and job seekers, with a focus on the needs of vulnerable groups.
Koller concluded by highlighting several initiatives, including the EU Social Pillar Action Plan, the proposed EU net-zero industry act with provisions on skills, and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, which receives support from the EU.
He also urged active support for the ILO Director General’s initiative to establish a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which aims to ensure a sustainable future.
About the Green Economy
A green economy refers to an economy that aims to reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcities while pursuing sustainable development without compromising the environment.
It is characterized by its focus on being low-carbon, resource-efficient, and socially inclusive. In this type of economy, growth in employment and income is driven by both public and private investments in economic activities, infrastructure, and assets that promote reduced carbon emissions and pollution.
It also emphasizes enhanced energy and resource efficiency, as well as the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a green job is defined as a decent job that contributes to the preservation or restoration of the environment.
These jobs involve improving energy and raw materials efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and pollution, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and supporting adaptation to the effects of climate change.