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Employment in Europe: The Contribution of the High Tech Sector

Policymakers across Europe continue to seek strategies to pursue stable and reliable economic growth. With particular focus on employment, policies that drive competitiveness, innovation and sustained growth remain critical to Europe’s future and are embedded in the Europe 2020 agenda.

The high-tech sector plays an important role in contributing to innovation and employment in Europe. A new report provides a comprehensive analysis of the high-tech workforce across the European Union. The report proposes a broader definition of high-tech than has been commonly used. The study measures high-tech employment and its components, its growth in recent years, the geographic location of these jobs throughout the European Union, high-tech unemployment and wage statistics, and the secondary economic benefits this segment generates through the estimation of a local jobs multiplier.

In doing so, the report shows that the high-tech workforce adds substantial economic value and is an important source of growth during what has been otherwise a difficult economic period for the EU. Not only does the high-tech workforce create goods, services, and innovative processes that make workers in a wide-range of fields more productive, high-tech workers themselves are an important source of income generation and economic growth.

Following a presentation of the report, there will be a panel discussion to delve further into these issues.

Event materials

Report: High-Technology Employment in the European Union Download


  • Maarten Goos, Associate Professor, University of Leuven
  • Joep Konings, Professor, Economics Department, University of Leuven
  • Lucilla Sioli, Head of Knowledge Base Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission
  • Cornelis Vis, BEPA
  • Laurence Weerts, Cabinet of Commissioner László Andor, European Commission
  • Chair: Karen Wilson, Senior Fellow, Bruegel
  • Moderation: Reinhilde Veugelers, Senior Fellow, Bruegel

About the speakers

Jozef (Joep) Konings is a full Professor of Economics in the Economics Department at the University of Leuven.  He obtained his PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics in 1994, where he was a student of the Nobel prize winner Christopher Pissarides. He is a research fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR, London) and IZA, Bonn and held visiting positions at the International Monetary Fund, Dartmouth College, the University of Michigan and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Between November 2008 and March 2010 he has been an adviser to President Barroso at the Bureau of European Policy Advisers, European Commission. Konings also served as a Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Leuven, from September 2005 until December 2008. Konings’ research focuses on various aspects of globalization, firm heterogeneity and micro channels of macroeconomic fluctuations. This includes work on exchange rate pass-through, international competitiveness of firms, productivity growth and labor market distortions. In this context, he has written books that deal with the ‘Enlargement of the European Union with Turkey’ and ‘Reforming the Labor Market in Belgium’. Konings has published various papers in leading academic journals, such as the American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, The Journal of International Economics and the Economic Journal. Under his supervision over a dozen of PhD students graduated mainly specializing in empirical economics and took up positions in top universities, such as Princeton University, IESE Business School and LSE, or in International Institutes, such as the European Central Bank.

Maarten Goos is an Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven. Maarten‘s research and teaching activities focus on the economics of technological change and innovation. His award-winning research is published in numerous academic and professional journals, books and magazines. He is a regular speaker at international conferences in the areas of innovation, productivity, economic growth and labour markets. He is also a multiple award-winning teacher, and has developed and taught courses on European macroeconomics, economic growth and labour economics at various schools and organizations. Among others, Maarten has worked with the OECD, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), the European Foundation for the Improvement in Living and Working Conditions and the International Labour Organization. Maarten received his PhD from the London School of Economics (LSE) and held positions at Princeton University, the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, Fudan University Shanghai and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Lucilla Sioli is the Head of the "Knowledge Base" unit within Directorate-General CONNECT. Her unit monitors economic trends and performance in the area of ICT and is responsible for the benchmarking activities in the area of information society. She also manages the oversight of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs which addresses the impact of ICT on labour markets. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of Southampton and has been a civil servant with the European Commission since 1997.

Cornelis Vis is in the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA) at the European Commission. Before joining BEPA he worked at the European Commission's Directorate General for Research, initially as policy adviser on EU funding programmes in the strategy and policy unit, later on as policy coordinator in the Directorate "European Research Area; Knowledge-based economy", involved in the development of initiatives with other Directorates General, such as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the "European partnership for researchers". Other previously held positions include those of deputy director for international relations (Europe and the Russian Federation) at the Netherlands Research Council NWO, The Hague; executive director of the Netherlands house for Science and Technology (NEST), Brussels; and personal adviser to the President of the European Science Foundation (ESF), Strasbourg. He holds degrees in economics and law (University of Tilburg, The Netherlands) and is specialised in the European policy domains of research, science and technology, innovation, higher education and the digital agenda, industry and internal market.

Laurence Weerts has been a member of the Cabinet of Commissioner Andor, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion since January 2012. Her portfolio includes Employment policies, European Employment Strategy, Youth employment, Skills, Mobility and Employment Services. Prior to joining the European Commission, Ms Weerts worked as a Researcher and Ministerial Adviser specialising in European and Employment Policy. She holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Practical Details

  • Venue: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
  • Time: Wednesday 29 January 2013, 12:45 - 14:30 (lunch will be served at 12.45 before the event begins at 13:00)
  • Contact: Matilda Sevón, Events Coordinator - matilda.sevon[at]bruegel.org