The aim of this study is threefold: first, analyse the current EU-wide patterns of farming employment; second, investigate the drivers of structural changes within farms and agricultural labour markets; and third, discuss future development paths for the European agricultural sector, including the role of the CAP to address the challenges faced by farmers across the EU. The key findings of the study show that a range of factors fuel the steady decrease in agricultural labour force and continued consolidation of the farming sector widely observed across the EU. These include technological progress, a persisting attractiveness gap between agriculture and other economic sectors as well as age and education.
Microeconomic strategies such as farm diversification are growing in importance, while adding value to farming practices and products. At the same time, tailoring the CAP to regional needs and achieving a common vision for farming employment both across the two pillars of the CAP and across the different policies of the EU is essential to support a shrinking sector and improve rural employment quality. OIR has led the overall work and coordinated the various qualitative and quantitative analysis methods used in the study, namely a comprehensive literature review, a combined statistical and mapping analysis as well as detailed regional case studies. This has resulted in an evidence-based report and an in-person presentation at the European Parliament followed by an interactive discussion with MEPs.