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Labour-market polarisation and elementary occupations in Europe – Blip or long-term trend?

Βetween 1998 and 2008, occupational polarisation emerged for the first time in Europe not only in terms of low- and high-paid jobs: labour demand rose for both high-skilled and elementary jobs.

Much of the phenomenon of labour-market polarisation can be traced to macroeconomic trends and structural changes in sectors. The rising supply of non-national workers is also a factor in this, while technological and task content changes seem to play a minor role.

In light of the continuous shift towards a tertiary-based economy, together with the predictable changes in consumption models and lifestyle of European societies, it is likely that a relative increase of elementary occupation is bound to persist also in the next future. However specific policies, including vocational education and training, could potentially favour a process of occupational upgrading in the future, reducing the polarisation trend.

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