Summary

The group of personal and protective service workers covers a broad range of jobs, all of which are involved in the provision of specialized services. 

Key facts:

  • Around 15.5 million people were employed as personal and protective service workers in 2018.  Employment in the occupation increased by around 10 per cent between 2006 and 2018 (12 per cent in personal service workers and 6 per cent amongst protective service workers).
  • Employment of personal and protective service workers will slightly grow over the period 2018 to 2030. In total, an additional 200,000 jobs will be created in personal and protective services occupations between 2018 and 2030.
  • In addition to these newly created jobs, a projected 7.5 million people are estimated to leave their jobs as personal and protective service workers and will need to be replaced.  To meet the projected growth in demand over the same period and replace those workers who will have left the occupation, around 7.7 million job openings will need to be filled. 
  • The group of personal and protective service workers covers a broad range of jobs, all of which are involved in the provision of services.
  • In the workplace, service and attend, gathering and evaluating information and teamwork are the most important tasks and skills of personal and protective service occupations.
  • In 2018, most employees in the personal and protective occupations held medium-level qualifications (59 per cent) and this is expected to remain more or less stable over the period to 2030 (57 per cent). The percentage of highly qualified workers in the occupation is expected to increase in the period to 2030.

Tasks and skills

The group of personal and protective service workers [1] covers a broad range of jobs, all of which are involved in the provision of services. Three out of four of these workers offer personal services covering a wide range of customers’ needs. The type of service in question determines many of the skills required in these occupations, as well as the tasks undertaken in different jobs. For example:

  • Jobs in the personal services sector include: the provision of services associated with travelling (e.g. flight attendants); preparing and serving food and beverages (e.g. waiters, bartenders and cooks); supervising or maintaining people’s houses and buildings (e.g. housekeepers); providing driving lessons; caring for animals; providing hosting services for venues and events; providing hairdressing and beauty treatments;  providing funeral services and so on.
  • Protective service workers safeguard individuals and property against fire and other hazards, maintain law and order, and enforce laws and regulations. This subgroup includes a diverse range of occupations, such as police officers; fire fighters; prison officers; security guards; traffic wardens; and several warden-related jobs in leisure activities such as game hunting and swimming.

According to Eurofound's Job Monitor, service and attend, gathering and evaluating information and teamwork are the most important tasks and skills of personal and protective service occupations.

Figure 1: Importance of tasks and skills in personal and protective services occupations

Note: The importance of tasks and skills is measured on 0-1 scale, where 0 means least important and 1 means most important.

The employment level of personal and protective service workers is expected to increase by 1 per cent between 2018 and 2030, marking a slowdown in growth when compared with the 10 per cent growth observed over the period 2006 to 2018.  Between 2018 and 2030 it is estimated that there will be an additional 200,000 jobs created in personal and protective service jobs.  Small growth is expected in personal service jobs (projected to grow by around 2 per cent), whilst jobs in protective services are expected to decrease (by around 1 per cent).

Figure 2: Future employment growth of personal and protective services workers in European countries (2018-2030, in %)

A projected 7.5 million people are expected to leave the occupation between 2018 and 2030.  These people will need to be replaced  [3]. When they are added to the projected 200,000 new jobs that will be created, it is apparent that between 2018 and 2030 an estimated 7.7 million job openings will need to be filled. More information can be found here.

In the future it is likely that people working as personal and protective service workers will be increasingly highly qualified.  In 2018, 59 per cent of people in the occupation held medium-level qualifications and this will remain more or less stable in the period to 2030 when it will stand at 57 per cent.  In contrast, the share of workers who are highly qualified will increase from 18 per cent in 2018 to 26 per cent in 2030.  The demand for highly qualified employees is higher in protective service than in personal service jobs.

8 out of 10 jobs of protection workers is located either in public sector & defence or in administrative services; on the other hand, 3 out of 4 personal service workers are employed either in accommodation & food or in arts & recreation sector.

More information on employment trends for personal service workers and protective service workers can be found on the Skills Panorama.

Which drivers of change will affect their skills?

A dramatic demographic change will affect the client group served by personal service workers. Over the next decade, Europe will face the effects of an ageing population. The 65+ age group will increase by 18.5% by 2025. [4] In comparison, the overall European population will increase by only 1.5% during the same period. New products, services and business models will emerge as a result of rising needs of an older society [5] and this will be especially true for personal service workers. In addition, the nature of medical and psychological conditions of patients/clients will change as life expectancy increases. [6] Relevant services will need to adjust to accommodate: the workforce must meet the demand for certain skills (e.g. caretaking and cleaning) that will become increasingly important, and businesses may be able to tailor particular services to tap into new markets (e.g. senior tourism  [7]).

Developments in tourism will affect the skills profile of respective personal services workers. Social trends and changing attitudes towards people with disabilities will boost accessible tourism  [8]where personal service workers can be widely employed. According to the European Commission, employees should be trained to have, among others knowledge of disabilities /types of disability and access requirements, principles of effective customer service, recognising and responding appropriately to people using personal supports and service animals and assistive technology [9]Stronger market segmentation will continue affecting jobs and skills of relevant occupations. For example, the tourism industry includes elderly tourism, LGBT [10] tourism, ecotourism, agritourism, culinary tourism etc. In turn, workers will need to diversify their skills accordingly.

NGO & travel agency “Premiki” has placed offering tourism products to “everyone” at the heart of its business. The concept encompasses that regardless of physical or mental limitation people shouldn’t be prevented from being able to travel to the place they desire. To accomplish its mission, Premiki offers accessible travel products, certifies touristic facilities which are “disability friendly”, and provide trainings to tourism professionals on accessible tourism. Through creating supply to meet the increasing demand, Premiki has successfully provided services in its native Slovenia and internationally.

Source: Wei F. (2012) Compendium of Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism Prepared for United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

 

Protective service workers’ skills are being shaped by the effects of greater tension in the political landscape. Over the past fifteen years, a number of terrorist attacks have taken place in countries across Europe. According to some estimates, counter-terrorism spending in EU has increased by more than 160% between 2006 and 2011. [11] As a consequence, improving security and intelligence systems in patrolling and protecting public areas to prevent or tackle these threats have risen in the agenda. A higher demand for skills related to surveillance (e.g. CCTV [12]), policing, and other protective services is therefore likely.

Both personal and protective service workers include occupations with relatively high level of routine tasks – therefore, they are highly prone to partial replacement by automation. Overall, technological developments will significantly shape jobs and skills in both groups. Technological developments in the security sector (e.g. more widespread use of CCTV, automated security systems in intelligent buildings and increase use of robots [13] and drones)  [14] may decrease the demand for security guards and related jobs. For personal service workers, robots have been already developed with the foreseen capacity to support clients in museums, as tourist guides etc. [15]. But at the same time, as criminal actions increasingly spread into the digital world, rising demand can be expected for high-skilled professionals, who can handle security risks of physical damages, caused by remote interference (such as hijacking of driverless car or drone, hacking corporate ventilation systems or attempt to take over the control of a power plant. [16]).

  • Although no major changes are foreseen in employment levels of personal and protective service workers, their job content and thus skill needs can be expected to change. Skills development and upgrade will be important to find and sustain jobs in these occupations.
  • Soft skills, such as communication skills, problem solving, teamwork skills, cultural awareness, courtesy and responsibility are all pivotal in making a difference for the customer, therefore providing a competitive edge for businesses. At the same time, these skills could prove particularly important for personal and protective services workers whose jobs are more prone to including automated technological applications.
  • Special consideration for ICT literacy would be important, as technological advancements are expected in both occupations.
  • Especially for personal service workers, and depending on the job role, skills need to be adjusted to the needs of specific user groups, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Risk of automation: As a part of its Digitalisation and future of work project, Cedefop estimates the risks of automation for occupations. The most exposed occupations are those with significant share of tasks that can be automated – operation of specialised technical equipment, routine or non-autonomous tasks – and those with a small reliance on communication, collaboration, critical thinking and customer-serving skills. The risk of automation is further accentuated in occupations where employees report little access to professional training that could help them to cope with labour market changes. Personal and protective services workers are reportedly an occupation with low risk of automation.  

How can these skill needs be met?

Although no major changes are foreseen in employment levels of personal and protective service workers, their job content and thus skill needs can be expected to change. Skills development and upgrade will be important to find and sustain jobs in these occupations.

  • Soft skills, such as communication skills, problem solving, teamwork skills, cultural awareness, courtesy and responsibility are all pivotal in making a difference for the customer, therefore providing a competitive edge for businesses. At the same time, these skills could prove particularly important for personal and protective services workers whose jobs are more prone to including automated technological applications.
  • Special consideration for ICT literacy would be important, as technological advancements are expected in both occupations.
  • Especially for personal service workers, and depending on the job role, skills need to be adjusted to the needs of specific user groups, such as the elderly and people with disabilities.

Reference

All web-links were last accessed December 2nd, 2019.

[1] Defined as ILO ISCO 08 groups 51 Personal service workers and 54 Protective services workers. ILO, (2012), International Standard Classification of Occupations ISCO-08,

[3] The need to replace workers leaving a profession for various reasons, such as retirement. For more information on replacement demand and how it drives employment across sectors, can be found on the Skills Panoramaskillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highligths/focus-replacement-demand-driving-millions-job-openings-across-eu.

[4] EUROPOP, (2013), Projected population in the main scenario, own calculation.

[6] European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, (2012), Home care across Europe: Current structure and future challengeswww.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/181799/e96757.pdf, viewed 1 June 2016.

[7] European Commission, (2013), “Europe, the best destination for seniors”- “Facilitating cooperation mechanisms to increase senior tourists’ travels, within Europe and from third countries, in the low and medium seasons”, Expert draft report, Annex 1, demographic change and the rise of senior tourists.

[9] European Commission, (2014), “Mapping the skills and training need to improve accessibility in tourism services”.  For further information on Design for All see V. Egger, M.A. Klenovic “Barrierefreies Bauen: Ausbildung und Beratung in Oesterreich – Analyse und Ausblick”, 2010.

[10] Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

[12] Closed-circuit television, also referred to as video surveillance.

[13] Muoio, D., (2015), “China's new security robot will shock you when it feels threatened”, www.techinsider.io/chinas-anbot-riot-robot-2016-4Tech Insider, 28 April 2016, viewed 1 June 2016, 

[14] Metz, R., (2014), “Rise of the Robot Security Guards”, www.technologyreview.com/s/532431/rise-of-the-robot-security-guards/MIT Technology Review, 13 November 2014, viewed 1 June 2016, 

[16] Glance, D., (2015), “How cybercrime has evolved over the past 5 years.”, www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/09/how-cybercrime-has-evolved-over-the-past-5-years/World Economic Forum (WEF), 7 September 2015, viewed  1 June 2016 and  Goodman, M. 2016, “The internet of things will turn our machines against us.”, www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2016-01/15/internet-of-hackable-thingsWired, 16 January 2016, viewed 1 June 2016