The International Labour Organisation’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Heinz Koller, has disclosed that half of the global workforce was employed in jobs that do not align with their education levels.

Koller stated this while addressing the Informal Meeting of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers chaired by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

He said, “Globally, only half of the workforce is employed in jobs that align with their education level, indicating a significant skills-jobs mismatch. Higher-income countries fare better than lower-income countries in terms of matching education levels with jobs.”

Koller highlighted that the EU was currently experiencing skills and labour shortages, projecting a reduction of around 2.4 million workers in the labour force between 2022 and 2024.

He, however, said to tackle the challenge there was a need for the implementation of a comprehensive approach for a just transition that would create opportunities.

“Countries should review their skills policies and anticipate the needs of future green jobs. The transition to a green economy has the potential to generate 18 million jobs worldwide,” he noted.

Koller further stated that effective policy coordination, social dialogue, and sectoral policies were crucial to achieving this, adding that mainstreaming the just transition through technical and vocational education, lifelong learning systems, and targeted support for vulnerable groups was equally vital.

He highlighted initiatives such as the EU Social Pillar Action Plan, the proposed EU Net-zero Industry Act and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, which was supported by the EU as important to solving the job shortage challenge.

Koller concluded by urging support for the ILO Director General’s initiative to establish a Global Coalition for Social Justice, aiming to ensure a sustainable future.

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