The Luxembourg job market is characterised by an international and multicultural working environment, an exceptional number of foreign and multilingual workers, predominance of the service sector and an unemployment rate lower than the European average.
An international and multilingual work environment
However, following the steel crisis of the 1970s, the iron and steel industry was no longer the driving force of the Luxembourg economy. The Grand Duchy then formed new pillars while turning to new services in the tertiary sector.
As an international financial centre, Luxembourg also developed sectors such as information and communication technology (ICT), logistics, e-commerce and biotechnology, while encouraging research and development (R&D) efforts.
In the fields of ICT and the media, several communication giants operate from Luxembourg: the RTL Group, Europe’s leading television and radio broadcaster, and SES, the world’s leading provider of communication and broadcasting services via an array of 40 satellites. Skype, iTunes, PayPal, eBay and Amazon.com — the huge multinationals in digital economy, are all present in the Grand Duchy.
The workforce of local origin is fluent in the 3 languages used in everyday life (Luxembourgish, French and German). Given the multicultural environment, many employees also speak English. The choice of language in the workplace largely depends on the origin or nationality of the company.
An exceptionally high number of foreign workers
Since the need for workers cannot be met by domestic labour and migrant workers, the number of positions held by cross-border employees residing in one of the neighbouring countries (Germany, Belgium and France) has been constantly increasing since 1985.
But in the last decades, employment rates almost doubled in the Grand Duchy, primarily as a result of the influx of cross-border workers from France, Belgium and Germany. At the end of April 2019, over 190,000 people crossed the border each day to work in Luxembourg.
Representing 98,000 of that workforce, France provides the largest contingent, followed by Germany (47,000) and Belgium (46,000). There are also some 10,000 international officials and civil servants. 45% of domestic employment is thus accounted for by cross-border workers.
A lower unemployment rate than the European average
In Luxembourg, the unemployment rate, calculated by Statec, stood at 5.5% at the end of July 2019. Over one year, this represents an increase of 406 people, or 2.7%. The unemployment rate remains below the European average, with 15.668 unemployed people registered with the National Employment Agency (ADEM, in French) as of 31st March 2019. The unemployment rate in the European Union reached 6.4% in April 2019 and 7.6% in the Eurozone.
The ADEM is entrusted with the task of helping jobseekers find appropriate employment and to help employers find staff suitable for their businesses.
A strong tradition of social peace
In Luxembourg, there is a strong tradition of social peace and social problems are usually resolved within the framework of wide-ranging consultation between the social partners, both at business and national levels.
It is the responsibility of the Economic Committee (Comité de conjoncture) to closely monitor the evolution of the country’s economic situation, both short-term and long-term, and the situation prevailing in the labour market.