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Right talent needed to make the circular economy happen 

The circular economy creates opportunities for the labour market. Previous research suggests that it can have a positive societal impact by creating a modest net increase in the number of jobs, better quality jobs and more meaningful work. Both companies, countries and cities increasingly recognise this potential and are looking to attract the right talent to their region. But currently, how this potential can be realised is unclear. Both the public and private sectors do not know how to close the impending skills gap and how the labour force can truly drive the development of a circular economy and vice versa. Getting a grip on these dynamics is vital for policymakers and businesses to understand how they can positively influence the labour market and stimulate the creation of circular jobs.

“As the pressure on natural resources grows, ‘the right talent’ becomes an increasingly sought-after scarce resource too. In the transition to the circular economy, we need to put people on equal footing with planet and profit. Monitoring circular jobs gives us the insights to ensure this transition advances employment opportunities and continues to foster innovation.”

 Joke Dufourmont, Lead Jobs & Skills Programme

To answer these questions, Circle Economy has developed a standardised methodology to measure the amount and nature of jobs within a country, region or city that contribute to the circular economy. The methodology should be [is] replicable, producing results that are comparable through time and across national borders. 

7,5% of the Belgian Workforce is Circular
Circle Economy’s report: Circular Jobs in Belgium; A baseline analysis of employment in the circular economy in Belgium, provides insight into the nature and amount of jobs in the country’s circular economy. The research, supported by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation, presents a baseline measurement on employment in the Belgian circular economy. It provides a starting point for future interpretation, without passing judgement, and is set to be repeated within two to three years, allowing for a more comprehensive interpretation of the figures. The report follows Circle Economy’s 2017 analysis, developed in collaboration with the Erasmus Research Institute for Happiness Economics, that established 8.1% of jobs in the Netherlands are circular. The Belgian and Dutch numbers are largely comparable and are the first starting points in the journey to understand the effects of the circular economy on our labour market. Next to providing an overview of the nature and amount of jobs in the circular economy in Belgium, the report also zooms into the three regions and provides examples of different types of circular jobs. 

All the results of the report are available on an online monitor.

Next steps for circular jobs and skills research 
The research shows that there is a need to further broaden and deepen the understanding of labour market dynamics in the circular economy. We are looking forward to further investigate how sector transformation, technological advancement and employer and business needs change the circular job requirements. Secondly, we will look into how social partners can ensure high quality and inclusion for circular and decent jobs. The Jobs and Skills team will also continue to further develop the method to measure circular jobs.  

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