How can Europe tackle the three employment challenges: the digital, the climate and the pandemic transition?

  • Kenneth Abrahamsson Luleå university of technology
  • Allan Larsson Senior advisor



Never before in modern times has Working Europe been faced with such a fundamental and far-reaching transition pressure. We are in the beginning of two powerful transition processes, the innovation-driven digital transformation, and the policy-driven climate transition. On the top of these processes we are now facing a pandemic-driven restructuring of important sectors of our economies. Are our labour market regimes and policies fit for these challenges? Are we finally witnessing “the end of work” and an extended period of being Left Behind? Or can we build up capacities to deal with these three fundamental challenges? In this paper the authors discuss these issues based on the most recent labour market research and statistics and present some preliminary conclusions on the new forms of transition mechanism, and the scaling-up of European and national labour market transition policies as part of the Next Europe recovery strategy. It is not easy to predict the content, quality and volume of a skill development needs caused by the triple challenge of climate change, digitalisation, and Covid-19. We suggest, however, that the EU Commission should develop a transition capacity indicator corresponding to at least one fifth of the labour force and to recommend new springboards and bridges to work for the next years to come. We are convinced that this is the most productive and profitable investment Europe can do.

Keywords: Digitalisation, climate change, green deal, Covid-19, just transition, skill gap

Author Biography

Allan Larsson, Senior advisor

Allan Larsson served as a special advisor to President Jean-Claude Juncker in the preparations of the European Pillar of Social Rights 2016-2018. He has a background as Swedish finance minister and as director general for DG Employment in the EU Commission. Allan Larsson is currently a member of the EU Mission board for climate-neutral and smart cities. Sustainable and viable cities have fundamental impact upon the quality of life of citizens who live and/or work in urban environments and they are major contributors to global challenges.