EU Science Hub

Meeting labour demand in agriculture in times of COVID 19 pandemic


Member States affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have often resorted to shelter in place orders to stop the virus from spreading widely. These orders have affected many economic activities, but are designed to prevent a shutdown of those essential activities that are meant to keep the population safe and fed. Agriculture is one of those sectors that needs to be kept functional, but mobility restrictions have kept seasonal temporary workers, which this sector has grown reliant on, from reaching their workplace curbing the productivity of this essential sector. This report analyses the potential for the agriculture sector to replace the seasonal workers who are prevented by shelter in place orders from reaching their usual place of work with EU native born workforce. Looking at labour market flows into agriculture in the past decade, this report finds that the probabilities of flows in agriculture are low. Movers into agriculture are mostly migrant men older than 19 living in a rural area and with low qualification. After analysing recent labour market trends, the report concludes that native workers can only partially fill potential vacancies in the sector.