EU confronted with lack of skilled labour to support building renovation wave

(EurActiv, 15 Dec 2021) The EU’s push to improve energy efficiency in buildings and reduce the amount of fossil fuel they consume could create more than 160,000 jobs in the energy and heating sector by 2030, according to the European Commission.

But there are fears that labour and skills shortages in Europe’s construction sector, caused by an ageing workforce and unattractive employment conditions, will mean there are not enough people to take up the jobs vital to renovating buildings in line with Europe’s climate ambition.

“The transformation towards a climate-neutral building stock will only be possible if existing jobs are transformed to include green and circular skills and if new job profiles emerge, such as specialists in deep building renovation, installers for advanced technological solutions, or Building Information Modelling managers,” according to the European Commission.

However, in its 2020 renovation wave strategy, the EU executive states that “already before the COVID-19 crisis, there was a shortage of qualified workers to carry out sustainable building renovation and modernisation”.

These warnings are echoed by the industry. “In all countries, we hear about serious shortages in construction,” says Tom Deleu, the secretary general of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers.

“We have an ageing workforce in many countries. This is mainly because we have seen that there’s not enough inflow of young workers and, even when young workers enter the industry, they don’t stay for long,” he told EURACTIV.

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EurActiv, 15 Dec 2021: EU confronted with lack of skilled labour to support building renovation wave