Joep Konings is a professor of economics at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.
In "High Tech Employment in the European Union," a new report by Ian Hathaway (Engine Advocacy) in collaboration with Maarten Goos and me, Joep Konings, (KU Leuven), we analyze* two datasets of worker-level labor market data in the European Union in order to explore the impact of high-tech employment across the EU economy. Our findings show that the high-tech supports economic growth in the EU, creating benefits across the economy. More importantly, the creation of one high-tech job in a local economy creates more than four additional non-high tech jobs in the same region. This includes workers of a variety of occupations, including lawyers, physicians, wait staff, taxi drivers, and school teachers.
Our data also tell us that high-tech workers are a critical component of the European workforce. We found that in 2011, the 22 million high-tech workers employed in the EU-27 represented 10 percent of total employment. At 13.7 percent of total employment, Czech Republic had the highest concentration. Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, and eight additional countries had high-tech employment shares above 10 percent of total employment.
The January 29 launch event, hosted by Bruegel, provided an important platform for a policy debate on the issue of employment, which recognized the contribution of high-tech employment to the European economy. The policy discussion focused on the fact that while technology outmodes some jobs, it also significantly increases productivity, and creates new and better jobs as well as new ways of working. We saw vibrant discussion about empowering people to acquire the right skills and approach learning as a lifelong endeavor to remain valuable employees in the new tech-driven economy.
*Methodology is outlined in the appendix on page 21.