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2017 OECD Economic Surveys: Luxembourg 2017

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Luxembourg 2017

Luxembourg’s economic performance is robust thanks to its dynamic services sector, sound fiscal policies and openness to global talent. The pace of job creation is strong and benefits not only residents but also cross-border workers and immigrants. The large financial sector is well supervised, but to reduce reliance on the financial industry the government should further develop its long-term strategy focusing on new digital technologies and renewable energy.

Supplying the skills needed in these new sectors will require further improvements in the education system, with a focus on lifelong learning. Better alignment of skills with labour market needs would entail reorienting labour market policies from supporting job creating towards funding training programmes to facilitate the reallocation of labour. Luxembourg benefits from immigrants who play a successful role in the economy. Integration challenges remain, though, especially regarding people from non-EU countries, who suffer from high unemployment. As language proficiency is a key precondition for successful integration, public supply of language courses should be stepped up further. Education reforms seek to make schools more equitable, also for the children of immigrants, and equality between men and women is being promoted by easing access to childcare and making taxation more gender neutral.

SPECIAL FEATURES: BOOSTING SKILLS; IMPROVING THE INTEGRATION OF IMMIGRANTS

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Harnessing skills for more inclusive growth

Digitalisation, automation and future technological changes are changing the world of work, affecting the skills needed to perform them. The future of jobs will not look like the present situation: increasingly, workers will have to adapt to fast technological change, accept more mobility during their career, and regularly upgrade their skills to remain employable. Luxembourg’s workforce is highly skilled, reflecting the concentration in the country of sophisticated firms in the financial sector and other top-end international services. However, some middle-skilled routine jobs – especially back office, custodian and legal services in the financial sector – may disappear as a result of automation. Workers with strong and adaptable skills will be well prepared to thrive in this new environment. While many individuals working in Luxembourg already possess such characteristics, many others do not, resulting in a relatively high level of skills mismatch. Further improvements in the education system are needed to address this challenge, provide the young with learning-to-learn as well as technical capabilities and avoid that large groups of people are left behind. As skill sets will need to be updated during working careers, the system of initial education must be complemented by a flexible system of lifelong learning, tailored to the special needs of individuals with limited education attainment and older workers.Better use of existing skills would entail reorienting labour market policies from supporting job creation towards high-quality training programmes with substantial on-the-job learning component and reflecting future labour market needs. The tax and benefit system needs to be adjusted to increase incentives to work for low-skilled youth, older workers and second earners. Fully individualised taxation would increase incentives to work of second earners and make the tax system more gender neutral, while an additional parental leave entitlement for fathers may result in more gender-balanced use of part-time work.

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