The ecological transition: an opportunity for the growth of green employment in Spain

Can we harness the ongoing green transition to create sustainable and fair jobs? In order to answer this broad question, last Thursday, October 28th, Ingeus organized an open conversation with experts on green jobs.

The discussion, moderated by the political analyst Cristina Monge, was developed based on the results of the third quarter of the Labour Force Survey (Encuesta de la Población Activa, EPA), which presents encouraging data such as the increase of 359.300 employed people compared to the previous quarter.

“We have very good news. We did not have 20 million people employed in the labor market for many years, since 2008. […] We have very similar numbers to those we had this same quarter in the year 2000”, commented Àngels Valls, head of Ingeus labor market indicators and commissioned to present an analysis of the most recent EPA data.

At the same time, despite this encouraging data from the survey – Valls pointed out- age, gender and training components have strong implications for people’s work situations: “Age clearly marks the probabilities of moving from an occupation situation to unemployment, especially for people over 45 years of age. […] Gender, in turn, has a strong implication in the transition from unemployment to inactivity, with a difference of 8 points between what happens between men and women. […] And if we look at what is happening between the occupation and the inactivity, we see how the fact of having a higher education than the compulsory one penalizes you.”

We have very good news. We did not have 20 million people employed in the labour market for many years, since 2008.

Àngels Valls, Ingeus

It is due to this type of labor market distortions that the Platform for Green Employment and Entrepreneurship has emerged from El Día Después.

The platform has 3 common objectives: to facilitate the labor insertion of people, promote self-employment initiatives and favor inclusive entrepreneurship“, said Cristina Monge.

Gaps, challenges and opportunities for green employment in Spain.

At the round table that followed, the conversation focused on the current situation of green employment in Spain, the opportunities and the conditions so that progress can be made in the future.

In his speech, Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera, Vice President of the Spanish Green Growth Group, raised three main points, focusing on the opportunities for Spain: “The first point is that the decarbonization process is a unique opportunity to transform our economic system towards a more sustainable one, more competitive, more prosperous and more fair”, he said. “The second is that, if the process is good for the European Union, it is especially positive for Spain, because we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities. The third point is that there is global competition to take advantage of green industrial and employment opportunities. If we don’t take advantage of it, others will do it”.

If the decarbonization process is good for the European Union, it is especially positive for Spain because we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities.

Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera, Grupo Español de Crecimiento Verde

However, said Sáenz de Miera, we must progress in some aspects for Spain to become a competitive country: “We need tax policies, industrial policies and R&D&I policies because we do not have a large amount of the technologies. We need educational and industrial policies that guide the economy in this direction, and something very important: the management of the problems and tensions that it will meet in the short term. “

Victor Viñuales, Director of ECODES (Ecology and Development Foundation), put on the table the need for change so that the rehabilitation sector can take advantage of this moment: “We are facing a unique opportunity: Spain rehabilitates per year, in total, about 25,000 households. With the recovery plan, we should become six times better. To be six times better at something, many things have to change, and it will surely not be easy to achieve it if we continue doing things in the same way.”

He then pointed out the size of the construction companies and their capacity development plans as a challenge to consider for the rehabilitation works that we should undertake as a country within the framework of the ecological transition: “82% of the companies in the construction sector have two people or less. What training plans are these companies going to do, with two people or less?”

Julio Lumbreras, professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), focused the attention on the cities and pointed to the European missions as an opportunity to achieve a sustainable transition: “In Spain we have 80% of the population in urban areas, so it is from the cities that we can lead the responses to those challenges we face. We all know that we must create green jobs, get financing and projects and make companies in this area grow. The missions of the European Union help us align different instruments to achieve a massive transformation and above all, they help us deal together with the different actors ”.

In addition, he pointed out the crucial role of universities in the creation of green jobs: “We must do what Europe calls upskilling and reskilling, that is, ensure that people who already have training can improve their skills and abilities to make a qualitative leap in what they are doing now, or reinvent themselves”. “Another point” he stressed is that “it is necessary to align and bring together the companies’ universities, with training connected to the industry”.

It is necessary to align and bring together the universities of the companies, with training connected to the industry.

Julio Lumbreras, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Àngels Valls broadened the view and raised the need to create new public policies to implement the necessary changes: “We are talking about active policies, the mere passage of time will not be enough to reach the necessary levels of digitization, and neither to achieve a more significant weight of green energy. The mere passage of time is not enough for the growth of the economy and of green jobs ”.

Finally, Julio Lumbreras emphasized the need for multi-stakeholder work: “If we do not generate the instruments and spaces for collaboration, the sustainable transition will not happen by magic. We have to dedicate time and resources to set up those spaces so that we really collaborate in action. We will have to squeeze our heads to do it”.


Chronicle written by Aurélio Favarín, itdUPM

Video summary
Full video of the conversation
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