Toolkit on demographic change, age management and competencies in the gas sector in Europe


With the financial support of the European Commission (October 2009)

by Dr J. Pillinger


In 2009 the European social partners: EUROGAS, EMCEF and EPSU decided to consider the implications of demographic change on skills and competencies in the gas industry, and launched a project in the framework of the social dialogue committee.

A separate study was carried out by David Tarren of the Working Life Research Institute of the Metropolitan University of London, to provide an analysis of trends in demographic ageing, skills and competencies. The study found that demographic ageing and changes taking place in the industry will require new investments and skills and competencies. The study presents the results of a joint survey. From the responses it is clear that employers and trade unions need to set aside time and resources to properly study the effects of the sector’s ageing workforce and adequately address them jointly.
The survey responses indicate that there is a lack of discussion and bargaining on demographic change and competencies. The study highlights the specific jobs that will be affected, such as, meter readers, engineers, plant operators, and workers in customer services, distribution and exploration.

This Toolkit has been prepared to raise awareness and point to ways that the social partners can address the implications of demographic change on the skills and competencies that are necessary to ensure that the sector remains competitive in the future. The Toolkit identifies the challenges facing gas companies and how they can be resolved. It demonstrates how companies can benefit from the skills and motivations of different age groups in the workforce and provide guidelines, information and good practice approaches.

There are several case studies, which exemplify joint company/ trade union approaches, including in the sectors main companies. The toolkit underlines the case for the role of the social dialogue in the management of demographic change, and will be useful for human resource and line managers and trade union officials working in the gas sector, who have a responsibility for drawing up policies and procedures and monitoring progress in this area.

The European social partners want to see the toolkit used as a basis for addressing the implications of demographic change on skills and competencies. The toolkit was presented by Dr Jane Pillinger, an independent consultant working from Ireland.

A joint conference was held on “Demographic Change and Competencies in the European Gas Sector” on 4th November 2009. The conference was attended by employer and trade union representatives from gas companies across Europe. Presentations from the conference, a summary and full report of the study, and a summary Toolkit and full Toolkit can be found on

EUROGAS, EMCEF and EPSU would like to thank all company and trade union representatives who contributed to this study, developed the case studies, provided useful information and fed valuable ideas into the Toolkit.