Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Building resilience through greater adaptability to long-term challenges


A LEED project for 2015-2016


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‌The project will explore how local employment and training systems can best adapt to long-term challenges such as the transition to a green economy and demographic change. It will provide recommendations on how to enhance the flexibility of local policies so that local actors can collaborate on long-term strategies to build resilience in various economic and geographical contexts.



Resilience is a broad concept, centred on the ability not only to resist and recover from adverse shocks, but also to “bounce back” stronger than before and to learn from the experience1. In a resilient society, individuals should be empowered to cope with change and participate fully in the economy. For local labour markets, this entails understanding the sources of risks and opportunities, and learning to cope with uncertainty. It also involves equipping people with the competences and support necessary to take best advantage of the changing circumstances in which they find themselves. Previous LEED research has highlighted that employment and training systems (business organisations, education and research institutions, public employment services) can play an important role in building local resilience, particular when such organisations work together to produce tailored responses to local labour markets. This can include better identifying skills needs and gaps, fostering knowledge-sharing activities and adapting training offers to specific geographical and economic structure contexts. 


Main issues to be addressed

The work will address the following policy issues:

Adaptability of the local employment and training system to build resilience and address long-term challenges. The questions to be examined include: what are the factors that help produce resilience at local level and what are the consequences for skills and employment policies? How can local employment and training system best tailor their responses and equip individuals to face uncertainties and long-term challenges? Previous LEED work has identified that flexibility in the management of employment and training policies is needed to support integrated local responses – is this finding borne out here? What role is there for the public sector to deliver management training and other support to help local businesses to capitalise on emerging opportunities and better adapt to change?

Sector specific responses to long term labour market challenges: While long-term challenges such as the transition to a green economy and population ageing will deeply impact our economies and societies as a whole, some economic sectors may be more affected than others. What are the specific skills shortages associated with the disruptive effects of these global changes to the labour market? What are the economic opportunities arising in specific sectors for instance agriculture, construction and healthcare at the level of local labour markets (overall employment, change of job profiles, skills shortages, economic opportunities, innovation drivers)? How can sector specific perspectives help inform local employment and training systems?

How Local strategies to reinforce productivity in “shrinking” areas. In some local areas (for instance remote rural areas, or areas experiencing deindustrialisation), demographic change is accompanied and accelerated by negative net internal migration rates which leads to striking population shrinkage. “Shrinking” is often associated with a negative stigma that local policy makers try to reduce or counter. Nevertheless, it could also lead to positive changes in economic activity, inducing new business models and productivity gains for workers. What is the link between population loss and workers’ productivity in shrinking areas?  How could local policy-makers best foster productivity gains in “shrinking areas”?



A number of activities will be undertaken to explore these themes:

  • An international literature review will be carried out on the factors producing resilience at the level of local labour markets;
  • Quantitative analysis will be carried out based on LEED data, exploring the relationship between population change (internal migration) and changes to productivity. In-depth analysis will also be carried out in potential areas of relevance (particular those areas with a shrinking population that have managed to achieve productivity gains).
  • Pilot studies will be carried out in local selected areas and sectors. This would entail desk research and analysis, semi-structured interviews with local relevant stakeholders from the selected economic sectors, compilation of best practices, surveys of local companies, and local roundtables.
  • Capacity building will also be carried out at local level – helping to produce evidence-based approaches using local dashboard techniques.
  • A workshop will be held on Employment and skills strategies for resilience, in addition to a series of webinars on specific themes relating to economic resilience, demographic change and green growth. 



Countries and localities can participate in this activity by requesting a pilot study or a capacity building review; they can also collaborate with the OECD on the organisation of capacity building seminars and events. Delegates are encouraged to participate in the proposed international workshop, webinars and other meetings, provide relevant data, support the dissemination of outputs, and offer good practice policy examples to the Secretariat.



The project will produce a policy report synthesising the results of the local and sector studies and the findings of the workshop on Employment and skills strategies for resilience.  This will include policy recommendations for national and local policy makers on how the policy framework can best support local communities to build long-term resilience. 



For further information about the project please contact Nathalie Cliquot at the OECD Secretariat.