Employment policies and data

The Jobs Potential of a Shift towards a low-carbon Economy


The OECD report, “The Jobs Potential of a Shift towards a low-carbon Economy” provides an in-depth analysis of how green growth will reshape labour markets. It also describes the role that labour market and skill policies can play in maximising the benefits of economic greening for workers. This report was produced with the financial support of the European Commission and was jointly released on 4 June 2012 in Brussels by European Commissioner László Andor and OECD Deputy Secretary-General Yves Leterme (read speech).


The report argues that the impact of a transition towards a greener economy on labour markets will extend far beyond the creation of new green jobs, such as those related to renewable energy. This transition will create new opportunities for workers, but also new risks. The challenge for labour market and skill policies is to maximise the benefits for workers and help assure a fair sharing of adjustment costs, while also supporting broader green growth policies (e.g. by minimising skill bottlenecks).

The three main policy priorities are to adapt existing policies so as to:

• support a smooth reallocation of workers from declining to growing firms, while reducing the adjustment costs borne by displaced workers
• support eco-innovation and the diffusion of green technologies by strengthening initial education and vocational training, and ensuring that overly-strict product market regulations are not blunting the incentive to innovate
• reform tax and benefit systems for workers to make sure that cost pressures generated by environmental policies do not become a barrier to employment.
There is also need for green-specific labour market and skill policies, including top-up training for mid-career workers who need to adapt to greener ways of working.

Download the full report

Other green jobs related material from the OECD

• OECD work on greening of jobs and skills:
•  OECD work on sustainable development and green growth.


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