• Service industries such as hospitality and entertainment lead new hiring in Europe.
  • Education and public administration added the fewest jobs in the second quarter.
  • EU economic output is seen reaching pre-COVID levels earlier than expected.

The European hospitality and entertainment industries are leading the return to work, as countries across the region continue their recovery from the COVID-19 economic slump.

New hires in accommodation and food services accounted for 11% of recent job starters in the European Union in the three months through June 2021, according to the latest data from Eurostat. Services jobs overall saw the highest share of new employment during the quarter.

Recent job starters by economic activity in the EU, Q2 2021.
Services jobs dominate new hires as the European economy emerges from COVID.
Image: Eurostat

The EU economy as a whole contracted by 6% last year. It has bounced back, with expected growth of nearly 5% in 2021. Output is seen returning to pre-COVID levels in the past three months of this year, earlier than previously forecast, according to the European Commission.

Hospitality and tourism were battered by lockdowns and travel bans during the pandemic, but are bouncing back as restrictions are eased. Non-service sectors led by agriculture and construction are also adding jobs. Education saw the smallest share of new hires.

Reskilling workers will be crucial as the global labour market adjusts to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is overhauling manufacturing and industry with ground-breaking smart technology, according to the World Economic Forum’s report on the future of jobs. An estimated 85 million jobs could be displaced by 2025 as the division of labour shifts between humans and machines, it says.

These losses will be offset by job creation in new fields, the report shows. Roles already growing in demand include data analysts and scientists, AI and machine-learning specialists and robotics engineers.