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The future of work in Europe: Automation, workforce transitions, and the shifting geography of employment

This discussion paper focuses on longer-term trends affecting employment in more than 1,000 local and regional labor markets across Europe at a time when automation adoption is gathering pace. The research was mostly conducted before [Coronavirus Disease 2019] COVID-19 sparked a twin global health and economic crisis. It is too early to tell how the crisis will evolve, but the paper suggests that decisions government and business leaders make today in response to COVID-19 will need to factor in the longer-term trends identified here. The crisis could accelerate some of the trends identified and it could slow down others. The trends include: the differential speeds to automation adoption across Europe’s regional labor markets; the growing divergence between the most dynamic cities and shrinking regions across the continent; a decline in labor supply that could create a shortage of workers, particularly in growing sectors and regions; and major shifts in the types of skills and specific occupations that will thrive or be put at risk.